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Appeals for 'innocent' pair convicted for murder

Indonesian activists say another suspect admits the killings

Appeals for 'innocent' pair convicted for murder

Martinus Sambo is still seeking justice for his father and brother

Ryan Dagur, Jakarta

July 5, 2013

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The Asian Human Rights Commission has issued an urgent appeal to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono seeking the release of a father and son awaiting execution for a crime which someone else has admitted doing.

In a statement released on Wednesday the commission called for the president and the minister of law and human rights “to facilitate and encourage an alternative solution for the release” of Ruben Pata Sambo and his son Markus.

Ruben, 72, and Markus, 38, were convicted and sentenced to death in 2006 for murdering four members of a family in Tana Toraja district, South Sulawesi.

A land dispute was cited by police as the motive for the killings, which took place in December 2005.

During their initial trial Ruben and Markus said police abused and tortured them to force them to sign confessions.

“The police didn’t produce any warrant when they arrested my father. They just dragged him and my brother away kicking them,” Ruben’s daughter Yuliani Anni told    

All appeals have since been dismissed despite another suspect in the murders, Agustinus Sambo, having admitted to the killings and implicating Ruben and Markus because he disliked them. 

The Supreme Court dismissed this evidence as inadmissible during their final appeal in 2008.    

“For this reason, in the context of the case of Ruben and his son, there should be an alternative legal remedy granted to them which can lead to their acquittal even though they have exhausted the final appeal mechanism.” Asian Human Rights Commission said in its statement.

The commission also called for criminal proceedings to be launched against "members of the police who committed torture and fabricated charges against Ruben and his son."

Other groups have also spoken out in support of the jailed father and son.

The Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence ( Kontras) called last month for authorities to relook at the case.

The case should be reviewed so as to prevent innocent people from becoming victims, Kontras coordinator Haris Azhar said.

The family says they are very thankful for the support they are getting and vowed to continue to seek justice

“We see a ray of light,” said Martinus, another of Ruben’s  sons. “A review of this case is needed in order to reveal the truth.”


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