Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Indonesian troops jailed for killing prison inmates
Relatives and rights groups say sentences too light
Relatives and friends of the victims stage a protest in Jakarta
- Ryan Dagur, Jakarta
- September 6, 2013
An Indonesian military court on Thursday handed jail terms to eight of 12 special forces troops who executed four inmates during a prison raid earlier this year near Yogyakarta in Java.
The soldiers from the elite Kopassus unit stormed Cebongan prison on March 23 and killed the prisoners who had been detained after being accused of murdering the soldiers’ superior officer during a nightclub brawl. Several prison guards who tried to stop them were injured.
Second Sgt Ucok Tigor Simbolon, who pulled the trigger, was handed an 11-year term. Two other ring leaders, Sugeng Sumaryanto and First Corporal Kodik, who stood next to the shooter, were sentenced to eight and six years respectively by the three-judge panel.
The others, who were tried separately, were handed terms of 21 months for their roles in the raid. Four other soldiers who took part still await sentencing.
The soldiers’ actions “cost the lives of four people, caused grief to the victims' families and traumatized many people," chief judge Lieutenant Colonel Joko Sasmito told the court.
Families of the victims say the punishments were not harsh enough
“I am not satisfied with the court decision,” said Viktor Mamahit, the brother of Juan Mambait, one of the victims.
“The family knew from the beginning the sentence would be light.”
Rights activists, who had called for the soldiers to be tried in a civilian court, also expressed disappointment with the sentences
Haris Azhar, coordinator of the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS), said the punishment could have been more severe.
If military prosecutors had taken into account the planning of the raid and the intimidation involved against police and prison officials prior to the killing of the prisoners then justice might better have been served he said.
“Sad to say, this was neglected,” Azhar said.
The government says, however, that justice has been done.
“The fact that the judges have handed sentences of over five years, even 10 years to the main perpetrators, shows that they worked hard to fulfill the people’s demand for justice,” Deputy Justice and Human Rights Minister Denny Indrayana told reporters on Friday.