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PRAYER
Urgent Prayer for Indonesian Christians
CSW Advocacy Team
28-Mar-2006
Dear Friends,

CSW has received an urgent prayer request from Reverend Damanik regarding the imminent execution of three Catholics in Indonesia. Reverend Damanik, the head of the Protestant Church in the Central Sulawesi region of Indonesia, is asking for urgent prayer for a stay of execution and re-trial for the three men.

Fabianus Tibo, 60, Dominggus da Silva, 39, and Marinus Riwu, 48, were accused of being the masterminds of the sectarian violence in Central Sulawesi (2000) and for leading a violent attack against an Islamic school. All three men were sentenced to death and have recently had their final appeal for clemency rejected by the President.

At their trial Muslim witnesses spoke out in their defence and both Muslim and Christian leaders have called for the stay of execution and re-trial.

Both communities were involved in sectarian violence and set up militia (community defence) groups in 2000 and questions remain whether the three men might have been members of one of the groups. However, they are innocent of their charges and there is substantial evidence to support calls for a re-trial.

In the last two years, the Christian community has faced constant attacks by militants in the region, most notably the beheading of three Christian girls in October last year. At the moment, the situation is very volatile, as an extremist leader, Adnan Arsal, has organised violent demonstrations against a newly elected Christian head of the Poso region, known as the Bupati.

The new Bupati has taken measures to ask law enforcement agencies to investigate incidents of violence and corruption of funds designated for Internally Displaced Persons. It is believed that the real provocateurs are trying to destabilise the situation further by pushing for the execution of the three Christians at this time to try to distract attention away from the investigations.

Please consider prayerfully Reverend Damanik’s request, below, and distribute his letter to your prayer networks.

Thank you for your support.

CSW Advocacy Team
Our prayer...
On 21 March 2006, I visited our brothers in the Palu Prison. We spoke heart to heart and prayed together.

They said, “Our death sentence is very unjust, we have only become scapegoats for those in power and in the interests of a certain group. It is very hard for us to accept this death penalty but we are awaiting the sentence of our Just and Loving Lord. We always surrender all decisions to the Lord - He who determines what is best for all men. Please continue to pray for us. Our strength comes from fervent prayers. Give our greetings to all our fellow believers both within Indonesia and from overseas.”

Therefore, let us continue to pray fervently for them, whether in prayer groups, in our family prayer or in our personal prayers. Also pray for the authorities, those who make decisions in Indonesia, so that the justice of the Lord will be in their hearts, thoughts and feelings.

Together with this, we ask for support for the formation of an Independent Investigative Team to uncover the Poso Conflict from the beginning of December 1998. We have long struggled for this to be formed, together with Reverend H. Saerang (a Pentecostal Pastor) and friends, but we have not yet received any support from the Indonesian Government.

Why do we need this investigative team? First of all, true reconciliation can only be created if the true facts are uncovered. The meaning of forgiveness can only be realized if there is confession and efforts of repentance. How can we forgive others if we do not know who and what we are forgiving?

Secondly, the case brought against the three Catholic Christians took place during the Poso conflict of May 2000. The Poso conflict started in December 1998 and continued through April 2000, May 2000 and thereafter. If an Independent Investigative Team is formed, then all the accused in the Poso Case must become “living witnesses” or “key witnesses”.

Therefore the three Chritians must be allowed to live and become witnesses about what happened during the escalation of the Poso conflict. It is certainly hoped that from the results of the Independent Investigative Team, there will "novum baru" (re-trial) for the case of the three Christians which will be able to revise their death sentence and examine again whether it is true that it is these three Christians who are primarily responsible, or whether indeed it is someone else.

We hope for your support and prayer that our efforts will receive a positive response from all parties.

Thank you. May the Lord bless you.

Greetings and prayers,
Rev. Rinaldy Damanik.
Tentena, 24 March 2006.