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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 February 2007, 08:40 GMT
Prison demand for Poso suspects
Indonesian Hasanuddin at court in Jakarta, 8/11/06
Hasanuddin has admitted his involvement in the attacks
Indonesia prosecutors have asked for 20 year prison sentences for three men accused of beheading three Christian schoolgirls in Central Sulawesi.

The prosecutors said they were not seeking the death penalty because the defendants had shown remorse and been forgiven by the victims' families.

The beheading of the girls, attacked as they walked to school in Poso, drew international condemnation.

Poso has been a focal point of tensions in religiously-divided Sulawesi.

Violence between Muslims and Christians has continued despite a 2002 peace deal.

Recent tensions

Seeking 20 year sentences for defendants Irwanto Irano and Lilik Purwanto, prosecutors said they two men staked out the route of the schoolgirls.

The two men are accused of following the orders of alleged attack mastermind, Hasanuddin. Prosecutors recommended a 20-year jail sentence for Hasanuddin on Monday.

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

Earlier in the trial, Hasanuddin, 34, admitted his involvement in the attacks but denied he was the mastermind. He asked the families for forgiveness.

The three girls were attacked as they walked to the private Christian school near their home in the town of Poso, in central Sulawesi, in 2005.

One of their heads was discovered outside a church.

The trial has been told that the attack was timed to take place during a festival at the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Chief prosecutor Payaman told the panel of judges that Hasanuddin told his accomplices "to hunt for the heads of Christians" as a gift for the Muslim holiday.

More than 1,000 people are believed to have been killed during two years of violence triggered by a brawl between Christian and Muslim gangs in December 1998.

Tensions have risen in recent months following the execution of three Christian militants in September, for attacks against Muslims in 2000.

Indonesia beheadings trial opens
08 Nov 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Arrests over violence in Sulawesi
31 Oct 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Executions spark Indonesia unrest
22 Sep 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Three Indonesian girls beheaded
29 Oct 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Indonesia flashpoints: Sulawesi
28 Jun 04 |  Asia-Pacific

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