Christians mourn travesty of justice in Indonesia; security tightens.

By September 26, 2006

Indonesia (MNN)–Thousands mourned the execution of three Christians in Indonesia in a long burial procession Sunday.

Fabianus Tibo, 60, Marinus Riwu, 48, and Dominggus da Silva, 42 were killed by firing squad Friday. Their deaths touched off rioting in Sulawesi villages of Tentena and Lage as human rights groups called the trial a ‘sham’.

The trio were convicted of leading a Christian militia in a series of attacks against Muslims in May 2000. Voice of the Martyrs Canada’s Greg Musselman says the men had denied that they headed the attacks in Poso six years ago and gave authorities the names of 16 Christians who allegedly started some of the violence.

Human rights watchdog groups describe the trio as uneducated farmers who served as scapegoats to appease Muslims ahead of the execution of three Islamic militants convicted for involvement in the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings that killed 202 people.

“There’s been a lot of disappointment from human rights organizations around the world”, says Musselman, adding that the sentences were carried even though, “the Pope, himself, intervened in this situation and the original executions were put off from this summer and then just last week, these three men were put to death.”

Rather than make people run from Christ, persecution often does the opposite. “If there’s still such a hatred toward the church and then people that were kind of on the fence, in terms of their walk with the Lord all of the sudden say ‘I need to be totally committed to this because I could die.’ As a result, there have been incredible ministry opportunities for the local churches.”

Continue to pray that there will be no reprisal violence in Sulawesi. Pray for the believers living in the tinderbox regions that their faith remains strong in this time.

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