Indonesian principal sentenced to death for raping at least 13 girls

Indonesia Rape Trial
Herry Wirawan, center, the principal of a girls Islamic boarding school accused of raping several of his students, is escorted by security officers during a sentencing hearing at a district court in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia, on February 15, 2022. The court sentenced Wirawan to life in prison for raping at least 13 students between the ages of 11 and 14. In April, the sentence was changed to include the death penalty. Rafi Fadh / AP

Bandung, Indonesia — An Indonesian high court granted an appeal from prosecutors and sentenced an Islamic boarding school principal to death for raping at least 13 students over five years and impregnating some of them.

HerryWirawan was sentenced to life imprisonment by a three-judge Panel at Bandung District Court. He had been accused of raping girls between 11 and 14 years old from 2016 to 2021 at the school, hotels or rented apartments in the city of West Java. At least nine children were allegedly born from the rapes.

The case of his victim sparked outrage as there had been many victims for several years. The victims weren’t afraid to speak out, according to police.

The Bandung High Court judges in their ruling Monday agreed with prosecutors’ appeal for the death penalty and for Wirawan’s assets to be seized.

The court’s Tuesday ruling stated that Wirawan had “caused trauma and suffering for the victims and their families.” The defendant had damaged the reputation of Islamic board schools. “

Indonesia Rape Trial
Herry Wirawan, the principal of a girls Islamic boarding school who is accused of raping his students, sits on the defendant’s chair during his sentencing hearing at a district court in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia, on Feb. 15, 2022. The court sentenced Wirawan to life in prison for raping at least 13 students between the ages of 11 and 14 and impregnating some of them. In April, the sentence was changed to include the death penalty. Rafi Fadh / AP

The lower court had ordered Indonesia’s child protection ministry to pay $23,200 in combined compensation requested by the victims and between $600 and $6,000 for medical and psychological treatment for each girl, instead of seizing Wirawan’s assets.

But the high court ruled for his assets to be seized, including a foundation he owned, and auctioned to benefit the victims and their children.

The judges also ruled that nine children born to the victims should be handed over to the Children and Women Protection Agency with periodic evaluation “until the victims are mentally ready to care for their children, and the situation allows for their children to be returned to the victims. “

The judges of the appeal court denied the request by prosecutors for chemical castration. They stated that a person sentenced to death, life imprisonment, or both may not face any other punishments than the removal of certain rights.

Wirawan’s lawyer, Ira Mambo, said she would advise her client to appeal the sentence to the Supreme Court. The court will make the final decision on their appeal within seven days.

Wirawan pleaded guilty and apologized to his victims and their families during the trial.

West Java police began to investigate the case and arrested Wirawan last May when parents of a victim went to the police after their daughter returned home on a holiday and admitted she had just given birth.

The case didn’t become public until November, when court proceedings began. The police claimed they withheld the information to avoid further social and psychological damage.

In January, President Joko Widodo said he was concerned about cases of sexual abuse in Islamic boarding schools and called on parliament to speed up deliberations on a bill on sexual violence. The bill should include prohibitions against extramarital and sexual relations, as opposed to what conservative lawmakers want.

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