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Boarding school headteacher sentenced to death in Indonesia for raping at least 13 girls

metro.co.uk

Apr 5, 2022

Herry Wirawan had been sentenced to life in prison ahead of an appeal (Picture/Getty/AP)

A headteacher in Indonesia has been sentenced to death for raping at least 13 students, some of whom he made pregnant.

Herry Wirawan had been convicted by a three-judge panel in February – when he was 36 – and handed him a lifetime prison sentence.

But that has now been upgraded after an appeal.

The Islamic girls boarding school principal was accused of raping girls aged 11 to 14 at the school, in hotels or rented flats in West Java.

At least nine babies were reportedly born as a result of the rapes.

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 said she had just given birth.

The case sparked a public outcry, with police saying the victims were too fearful to tell anyone about their experiences, which are said to have occurred between 2016 to 2021.

Herry Wirawan, center, the principal of a girls Islamic boarding school accused of raping his students, is escorted by security officers during a sentencing hearing at a district court in Bandung, West java, Indonesia, Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022.
Wirawan was the principal of a girls Islamic boarding school (Picture: AP)
Herry Wirawan, center, the principal of a girls Islamic boarding school accused of raping his students, is escorted by security officers upon arrival for his sentencing hearing at a district court in Bandung, West java, Indonesia, on Feb. 15, 2022.
The case sparked a major public outcry (Picture: AP)

Now an Indonesian high court has granted an appeal from prosecutors to execute Wirawan and seize his assets.

But they denied prosecutors’ request for chemical castration, saying someone sentenced to death or life imprisonment may not be subject to other punishments, other than the revocation of some rights.

In a ruling released by the Bandung High Court today, the judges explained: ‘What he had done had caused trauma and suffering to the victims and their parents.

‘The defendant had tarnished the reputation of Islamic boarding schools.’

The lower Bandung District Court had ordered Indonesia’s child protection ministry to pay compensation requested by the victims and for medical and psychological treatment for each girl, instead of seizing Wirawan’s assets.

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, Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022.
Wirawan at a hearing in a lower court last month (Picture: AP)
Police officers stand guard during the verdict trial against Herry Wirawan (36), a former teacher and founder of an Islamic boarding school, who is accused of raping 13 school girls between 2016 and 2021, at the district court in Bandung, West Java province, Indonesia February 15, 2022.
The former teacher is thought to have fathered at least nine babies through rape (Picture: Reuters)

But the high court overturned the decision, meaning a foundation he owned is set to be seized 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’.

Wirawan’s lawyer, Ira Mambo, said she would advise her client to appeal against the sentence to the Supreme Court.

They have seven days to do so before the court decision becomes final.

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

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