Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Three Christian Women Found Guilty of All Charges

Thursday, September 1, 2005

Justice – Indonesian Style

By: John M. Lindner
Special to ASSIST News Service

JAKARTA (ANS) -- The three women charged with violating Indonesia's 2002 Child Protection Act by Christianizing Muslim children were found guilty today of all charges in an Indonesian court charged with anti-Christian radicals.

Jeff Hammond, director of Bless Indonesia Today, told ANS Dr. Rebecca Laonita, Mrs. Ratna Mala Bangun, and Mrs. Ety Pangesti, who conducted a “Happy Week” (or “Happy Sunday”) program in their homes in early May, were found “guilty of all charges” and given a sentence of three years.

Hammond pointed out that the guilty verdict was pronounced, even though the children had their parents’ permission to attend, and none of them had changed their religion.

He said the verdict may actually have spared the three a worse fate, as the witnesses and judges were “constantly under the threats of violence from hundreds of Islamic radicals, who threatened to kill the three ladies, witnesses, pastors, missionaries--and even the judges--if the women were acquitted.”

Hammond told ANS that anti-Christian radicals arrived in nine trucks and “brought a coffin to bury the accused if they were found not guilty. Their violent threats continued in their speeches before the session began.”

When the verdict was read, the crowd erupted with “Allahu akbar” (“God is greater”).

“Please pray for these three beautiful, gentle women, who were just trying to help save the children of prostitutes from going down the same pathway,” Hammond requested.

He said the verdict will undoubtedly be appealed. However, whether true justice can ever be obtained under the intimidation of such anti-Christian radical remains to be seen.