Indonesian Church Leader to Speak of the Plight of Persecuted Church
A church leader and peace activist from Indonesia who was falsely imprisoned for over two years on a charge of illegal weapons possession, will be speaking in Surrey in a series of roadshows on the persecuted church called ‘Don’t Stand in Silence’.
Some of the events will also be attended by former Conservative MP and author, Jonathan Aitken.
The Reverend Ribaldy Damanik is the head of the Crisis Centre of Central Sulawesi. Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reported that Damanik was responsible for bringing attacks and human rights violations in Indonesia to the attention of the international community.
The police in Peleru, Sulawesi stopped him in August 2002 as he was attempting to rescue Christians who were being attacked by militants.
According to CSW the police claimed that they seized fourteen weapons and ammunition in Damanik’s car. However at the time he was not arrested nor informed of the alleged findings by the police.
It was not until 9th September that he was arrested in Jakarta, where he was charged with owning weapons without permission. CSW has reported that the charges where part of a move to silence Damanik.
According to CSW the arrest and trial were characterised by irregularities and violations of human rights. It is claimed that the testimonies of police and military witnesses often contradicted each other. One eyewitness claimed to have suffered abuse and intimidation.
In June 2003 Damanik was sentenced to three years imprisonment, although he only served two. He was released in November 2004.
The Chief Executive of CSW, Mervyn Thomas said: "We are looking forward to bringing the Rev. Damanik to venues across the country, enabling thousands of Christians in the UK to hear first hand what it means to be persecuted for the Christian faith. He is an inspirational speaker, whose story will be compelling. We hope that many will be challenged to stand with our persecuted family around the world in prayerful and practical ways."
The 'Don't Stand in Silence 2005' roadshows are going to be a series of interactive awareness-raising evenings across the nation, according to CSW.
The roadshows will be held all over the country with the aim of encouraging Christians to pray, protest and provide for the persecuted church.
There are over 200 million Christians in sixty or more countries who are denied fundamental human rights because of their faith, according to the World Evangelical Alliance.
For more information on the roadshows visit, www.dontstandinsilence.info.