Fate of Bali bombers raises hope for three condemned Indonesian Catholics

With the postponement of the execution of three Bali bombers, a Vatican diplomat says that hopes have risen for a further postponement of the execution of the three Indonesians Catholics convicted for their part in sectarian clashes in Sulawesi in 2000.

Recognising that the fate of the Christians is closely linked to that of the three Islamic terrorists, Mgr Rugambwa Novatus, a counsellor at the Holy See's diplomatic mission in Indonesia told AsiaNews that if the three terrorists are executed segments of Indonesia's public opinion will want to see the three Catholics put to death to even out the score.

Nevertheless, Mgr Novatus is still confident that the "growing opposition to the death penalty in the country and among human rights groups may lead to a reprieve in both cases."

The three men - Fabianus Tibo, Dominggus da Silva and Marinus Riwa - have been waiting in Palu (Central Sulawesi) for their execution over the past week. Their 12 August execution was postponed and all three are waiting for the new date.

Although he said he was not privy to the government's intentions, Mgr Novatus said he believed that it was "possible for the sentence to be further delayed."

The three men on death row have insisted they are not guilty, but their final appeal was turned down by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono last year.

Amnesty International and church groups are concerned that the trial of the three men did not meet international standards of fairness.

Nunciature in Jakarta hoping the lives of three Catholics are spared (Asia News, 21/8/06)

Miracle last hour stay of execution for death row Indonesians (CathNews, 14/8/06)
Thousands rally to save death row Catholics in Indonesia (CathNews, 11/8/06)
Indonesian Catholics to face firing squad on Saturday (CathNews 10/8/06) a/A>
Indonesian death row Catholics lose court appeal (CathNews 16/5/06)
Further appeal opportunity for Indonesian death row Catholics (CathNews 19/4/06)
Activists maintain fight for death row Indonesian Catholics (CathNews 10/4/06)
Second clemency plea for death row Indonesian Catholics (CathNews 28/3/06)
Pope sends envoy to death row Indonesians (CathNews 22/3/06)
Indonesian bishop condemns Catholics' death sentence (CathNews 29/11/05)
Looming execution of three Indonesian Catholics (CathNews 17/11/05)
Indonesian bishop concerned about resurgence of violence in Poso (CathNews 16/8/02)

22 Aug 2006