Fabianus Tibo and Dominggus Silva sat blindfolded. Nearby was Marianus Riwu, who refused to have his eyes covered. Their hands were tied. Outside the secure area, hundreds of supporters prayed and protested. Then the cracking sound of gunfire filled the air, as a police firing squad executed the three Roman Catholics. It was early this morning, in Palu, Indonesia, according to a report in The Washington Post.
The three had been convicted in 2001 of leading a Christian mob in a 2000 attack on an Islamic boarding school that left 200 people dead. But neither eyewitnesses nor evidence established that the men were ring-leaders of the violent outbreak, much less that they personally killed anyone.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who is considered to be a leading contender for a Nobel Peace Prize, rejected appeals for clemency from the men themselves, Pope Benedict XVI, and Markko Niinioga, Finland’s ambassador to Indonesia, who was representing the presidency of the European Union in this matter.
Mr. Tibo’s son Robert told followers earlier today that his father had “begged us not to be angry, not to seek revenge” and “to forgive those who did this to him,” according to the Post.
To their shame, the followers haven’t listened. Protesters have torched cars, looted Muslim-owned businesses, stabbed at least five people, and raided a jail, allowing 200 prisoners to escape.
By resorting to this violence, supporters of the executed Christians are guilty of precisely what they are protesting. They are harming people innocent in this matter for the actions of others. Christians should know better.