20 years for beheading three Christian girls

A Muslim militant from Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, was yesterday sentenced to twenty years in prison for masterminding the beheading murder of three Christian girls.

Hasanuddin, 34, who goes by a single name, along with co-conspirators Lilik Purnomo, 28, and Irwanto Irano, 29, were found guilty on Wednesday of decapitating the three Christian schoolgirls in the town of Poso and dumping their bloodied heads in nearby villages, judges said.

The three militants had faced a maximum penalty of death by firing squad, but judges ruled that they deserved some leniency for co-operating with authorities, confessing and showing remorse.

All three confessed to their role in the crime and were forgiven by the victims' relatives.

AsiaNews noted Indonesian press reports that the sentences corresponded to the demands of the prosecution.

The alleged members of the al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah network left a handwritten note close to the bodies, vowing more killings to avenge the deaths of Muslims in earlier sectarian violence on Sulawesi island.

"Wanted - 100 more heads," said Judge Lilik Mulyadi, reciting the letter's text. "Blood must be paid with blood, lives with lives, heads with heads."

The grisly nature of the beheadings - which occurred as the children were cutting through a cocoa plantation on their way to school - gave fresh impetus to the country's war on terrorism and was followed by scores of arrests.

Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, has been hit by a string of terrorist attacks in recent years targeting local Christians and nightclubs, restaurants and foreign embassies.

Judge Udar Siregar told the Central Jakarta District Court that Hasanuddin ordered the slayings and helped dumped their girls' heads in three Christian-dominated villages. Purnomo and Irano were found guilty of "ambushing and beheading" the teens, he said.

Nigerian Muslim students kill Christian teacher

In another story, Muslim students at a secondary school in northeastern Nigeria beat a teacher to death today after accusing her of desecrating the Koran.

Oluwatoyin Olusase, a Christian, was adjudicating an Islamic Religious Knowledge exam at the school in Gombe state when the incident occurred.

The students attacked her outside the school compound after the exam and killed her, witnesses said.

It was not clear exactly what Olusase had done that angered the students.

Police confirmed the killing and said their intervention had prevented the incident from turning into a riot.

Indonesian militant gets 20 years for beheading Christian girls (Canada.com, 21/3/07)
Lenient sentence for those who beheaded three Christian girls (AsiaNews, 21/3/07)
Muslim pupils kill teacher (Herald-Sun, 22/3/07)

Indonesian prosecutors allege man planned hundreds of Christian decapitations (CathNews, 9/11/06)
Indonesian govt arrests religious violence suspects (CathNews, 1/7/06)
Indonesia allows executed Catholic's body to return home (CathNews, 26/9/06)
Indonesian Catholics executed this morning (CathNews, 22/9/06)
Execution looms again for Indonesian Catholics (CathNews, 20/9/06)
Demonstrators call for execution of Indonesian Catholics (CathNews, 5/9/06)
Fate of Bali bombers raises hope for three condemned Indonesian Catholics (CathNews, 22/8/06)
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 Mar 2007