From: Reuters
Published December 11, 2007 07:15 AM

Four Indonesian militants jailed for attacks on Christians

JAKARTA (Reuters) - An Indonesian court jailed three Islamic militants for 14 years and another for 19 years on Tuesday for attacks on Christians in a region torn by inter-religious violence.

The four -- Muhammad Basri, Ridwan, Ardin Djanatu and Tugiran -- were convicted under Indonesia's tough anti-terrorism laws.

Judges found Basri guilty of several deadly attacks targeting Christians in Central Sulawesi province and sentenced him to 19 years. The attacks included the killing of three high-school girls in 2005 in Poso district and the shooting to death of a Christian minister in the provincial capital, Palu, in 2004.

The three other militants, who were each sentenced to 14 years in prison, were convicted of separate attacks, including a 2005 bomb blast at a busy market at Tentena in Poso which killed 22 people.

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The four were tried in separate courtrooms.

Poso was the scene of street fighting between Muslims and Christians between 1999 and 2001, in which more than 2,000 people died. Despite a 2001 peace accord, sporadic violence continued. Police have said Basri and Djanatu were the leaders of a local group believed to be linked to the regional militant network Jemaah Islamiah (JI).

JI is blamed for a string of deadly attacks in Indonesia, including the 2002 nightclub bombings on the resort island of Bali, which killed more than 200 people. Hundreds of militants allegedly linked to JI have been arrested since the Bali bombings.

Three Christians convicted of leading a group that killed scores of Muslims in 2000 at a boarding school in Poso were executed last year.

Around 85 percent of Indonesia's 220 million people are Muslim, but in some areas in the country's east, such as Poso, there are roughly equal numbers of Muslims and Christians.

(Writing by Ahmad Pathoni, editing by Sara Webb))

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