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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 September 2006, 08:51 GMT 09:51 UK
Indonesia to execute militants
Christian protesters in Jakarta, 11/8/06
Christians in Indonesia have protested against the executions
Three Indonesian Christian militants sentenced to death for attacks on Muslims in 2000 are due to be executed on Thursday or Friday, lawyers said.

Fabianus Tibo, Marianus Riwu and Dominggus Silva had been set to face the firing squad last month but won a reprieve after a papal appeal.

The men were found guilty of inciting attacks during religious rioting in Central Sulawesi in 2000.

Their supporters and rights groups have questioned the trial's fairness.

Some 4,000 extra troops have been deployed in religiously-divided Sulawesi amid fears the executions could spark further violence.

VIOLENT PAST
Map of Indonesia
Previously known as Celebes, Sulawesi is Indonesia's fourth largest island
80% of residents are Muslim, while 17% are Christian
A December 1998 brawl in Poso led to months of religious violence in which hundreds died

"If there are unwanted actions, or actions tending toward anarchy, police will not hesitate to take repressive action," Central Sulawesi police chief Badroddin Haiti said.

Gang violence

Lawyers for the three men said provincial prosecutors delivered a letter saying the executions would take place on Thursday 21 September, though one report said it could take place on Friday.

Attorney General Abdul Rachman Saleh told reporters the letter, delivered late on Monday, said the men would be shot in 72 hours time.

The men say they are innocent of the charges that they masterminded a series of attacks on the Muslim community in the Central Sulawesi district of Poso in 2000, killing at least 70 people.

The attack was part of a wave of violence that left more than 1,000 people killed. It was triggered by a brawl between Christian and Muslim gangs in December 1998.

The men's execution was delayed last month after a plea for clemency from Pope Benedict XVI and demonstrations by thousands of Indonesian Christians.

Three Muslim militants are also currently on death row for their part in the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings that killed more than 200 people.




SEE ALSO
Indonesia executions put on hold
11 Aug 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Three Indonesian girls beheaded
29 Oct 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Gunmen attack Indonesian church
19 Jul 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Sulawesi alert over fresh violence
17 Nov 03 |  Asia-Pacific
Death sentences for Indonesian violence
05 Apr 01 |  Asia-Pacific
Indonesia flashpoints: Sulawesi
28 Jun 04 |  Asia-Pacific

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