JAKARTA — An Indonesian court has sentenced an Islamic boarding school principal to death for raping 12 female students for 5 years and impregnating 8 of them, the court said in a press statement published on its website Tuesday.
The Bandung High Court ordered Herry Wirawan, head of the Tahfidz Madani boarding school in the West Java provincial capital of Bandung, to pay compensation to the victims totaling $23,000, and ruled his assets will be seized for the benefits of the victims and babies.
Eight of the girls delivered 9 babies resulting from the rapes.
The court handed down the ruling because the rapes made the babies born by the victims suffer "lack of care and love from their parents," according to the statement.
Wirawan, 36, has also "caused trauma and sufferings for the victims and their parents" and "used religious symbols... that can tarnish the image of Islam" to commit the crimes, it said.
The court granted an appeal by government prosecutors who had since the very beginning sought the death penalty for Wirawan.
In February, the lower Bandung District Court sentenced him to life for raping the girls, with the youngest aged 13, from 2016 to 2021.
The babies will be taken care of by the West Java government until the young mothers are mentally and psychologically ready to care for their children by themselves, the judicial panel ruled.
Wirawan was arrested in May last year following a police report by parents of one of the victims who told them that she just delivered a baby.
During the trial proceedings, it was revealed that the girls, who all come from poor families, were too afraid to tell of the rapes because they had been promised by the principal to have their school fees paid until they graduate from university or police academy.
Following the case and other sexual violence incidents, particularly at Islamic boarding schools, Indonesian President Joko Widodo urged the parliament in January to speed up the deliberations of a bill on sexual violence.
The bill has been deliberated for years with conservative Muslim lawmakers wanting to include prohibition on homosexuality and extramarital sex.