PALU, Indonesia, SEPT. 20, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Facing execution this Thursday, three Catholics from Poso have asked that they be shot in public.
The three — Fabianus Tibo, Dominggus Da Silva and Marinus Riwa — were convicted of involvement in the death six years ago of 200 Muslims amid interreligious strife on the islands of Sulawesi. Their trial was marred by irregularities.
The three Catholics have seen their execution postponed several times, the last time on Aug. 12. The day before, Benedict XVI appealed to the Indonesian president for a gesture of clemency for the three men.
On Tuesday, authorities announced that the executions would be carried out Thursday.
Tibo’s eldest son, Robert, has expressed the trio’s last wish, as reported by AsiaNews: “The execution should take place in public, to satisfy those who want our death.”
According to the agency of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, the three Catholics will be executed by firing squad shortly after midnight, in the first minutes of Thursday.
The case of “Tibo and friends” drew international attention. Their trial was marred by illegal procedures such as witnesses not being heard and certain evidence not being accepted by the court. The judicial process also was marked by large-scale intimidation by Muslim extremists.
Relatives of the three convicts went to Petobo prison in Palu on Tuesday for a final visit.
They were accompanied by Father Jimmy Tumbelaka, of the Manado Diocese, and two lawyers from the PADMA group who were defending them: Father Norbert Bethan and Stephen Roy Rening.
The latter reiterated that the execution goes “against the law, seeing that the condemned men are still waiting for an official response from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono about the second request for clemency.”
The three Catholics have also expressed their desire to have their coffins exposed to the public in the Cathedral of St. Mary of Palu.
Meanwhile, there is no letup in criticism against the court decision, reported AsiaNews.
According to Usman Hamid, head of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence: “By killing the three men, the state is going against human rights and preventing the disclosure of the identity of those who are truly responsible for these clashes.”
About 90% of Indonesia’s 245 million inhabitants follow Islam.