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Indonesian militants get jail terms for beheadings

By Staff
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Google Oneindia News

Jakarta, Mar 21: An Indonesian court jailed three Muslim militants today for the beheadings of three Christian schoolgirls from religiously divided Central Sulawesi province.

Judges found the main defendant, Hasanuddin, guilty of masterminding the beheadings of the Christian girls in 2005 in Central Sulawesi's Poso region and sentenced him to 20 years in prison.

A separate bench sentenced Hasanuddin's accomplices, Lilik Purnomo and Irwanto Irano, to 14 years in prison.

Chief judge Binsar Siregar said Hasanuddin asked his accomplices to put the severed heads in plastic bags and place them outside Christian houses.

Hasanuddin scrawled a warning on a piece of paper saying: ''A life for a life. A head for a head'', and put it in one of the bags, the judge said.

The attacks were aimed at avenging the killings of Muslims during the 1998-2001 inter-religious violence in Poso.

About 2,000 people from both communities died in the violence before a peace pact was signed in 2001, but sporadic attacks have continued.

Poso has been tense since the execution of three Christian militants in September over their role in the massacres of Muslims at a boarding school in 2000.

Prosecutors had not sought the death penalty for Hasanuddin and his accomplices because they had expressed remorse during trial and the families of the victims had forgiven them.

''I'm ready but I object to the verdict because statements from defence witnesses were not taken into account,'' Hasanuddin told reporters after the trial.

The beheadings triggered an outcry across Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, and beyond. The Vatican described the attack as barbaric.

One of the four girls who was attacked was wounded but managed to escape and report what had happened.

Around 85 per cent of Indonesia's 220 million people follow Islam, but some eastern regions have large Christian populations.

Reuters

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