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Indonesian teacher sentenced to life imprisonment for raping 13 students; impregnating eight

In a case that has attracted national media and public attention to sexual violence in several of the country's religious boarding schools, an Indonesian jury convicted a school teacher of life in prison for the rape of 13 children on Tuesday.

Herry Wirawan was convicted of raping 13 female learners, all of whom were minors, and sexually assaulting at least eight of them, by the Bandung district court in West Java. During the trials, it was proven that he had assaulted the youngsters, many of whom were from low-income backgrounds and were attending the school on scholarships during a five-year period.

The history of abuse was exposed last year when the parents of a female student reported Wirawan to the police for sexually abusing and impregnating their underage female child.

The allegations have triggered national anger with a leading government official claiming that President Joko Widodo has granted the situation special attention. Prosecutors had requested hormone treatment as well as the death penalty for the accused.

Wirawan, 36, was handcuffed and made to keep his head down as judge Yohannes Purnomo Suryo Adi convicted him to life in prison. He also requested forgiveness from the judge to be able to take care of his family. The judge also stated that the government will pay compensation to victims.

Susanto, the chairman of the National Child Protection Commission, told AFP the judgment on Tuesday meant that "justice for the victims had been fulfilled."

More than 25,000 Islamic boarding schools, known as "Pesantren," dot the Indonesian landscape with around 5 million students living and studying in boarding schools or hostels. Students who attend regular lessons throughout the day continue studying Koranic studies and Islamic teachings in the evening time.

The Bandung rape case has shed attention on the issue of sexual assault in some schools with 14 of the 18 incidents registered with the National Child Protection Commission last year happening in pesantren. Two professors at a boarding school in South Sumatra were imprisoned last year for sexually assaulting 26 male students for a year.

In the year 2020, an East Java boarding school head was sentenced to 15 years in jail for sexually abusing 15 female girls.

Last month, President Joko Widodo requested that parliament pass a bill on the "termination of violence against women and girls," which aims to fight sexual crimes and bring justice to victims, particularly in situations of forced marriages.

The bill was prepared in 2016 but has been delayed numerous times due to complaints from Islamic groups that it promotes immorality and orthodox public officials who want to penalize extramarital sex and homosexual relationships.

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Tags: #Rape #Sex #voilence #Assualt #Court #Abusing #Indonesia #Sexual #Judgement #lifeinprison


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