Amidst Indonesia's "Fragile Equilibrium," Pope's Appeal Grants Reprieve for Christians Facing Execution

August 11, 2006

Source: BBC News

On August 11, 2006 BBC News reported, "Indonesian officials have delayed the execution of three Christians sentenced to death for attacking Muslims. The three were due to be executed by firing squad early on Saturday, but were given a last-minute reprieve after an appeal by Pope Benedict XVI. They were sentenced for inciting attacks during religious rioting in Central Sulawesi in 2000. Officials said the executions were being delayed until after celebrations to mark Indonesia's independence day. The country's police chief Sutanto said the delay in carrying out the executions was 'just a matter of timing.' The three men would be executed after the 17 August festivities, he added. The stay of execution was granted after the Vatican delivered an appeal for clemency to the Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono...Sulawesi province has a long history of violence between Muslim and Christians. 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. On Thursday, thousands of Christians in the town of Tentena demonstrated against the execution."