After his life sentence was enhanced, an Islamic school instructor who raped 13 students as young as 12 and left eight pregnant now faces the death penalty (photos)

After being sentenced to life in prison, an Islamic instructor who raped 13 girls at an Islamic boarding school in Indonesia is now facing the death penalty, according to a court ruling today.

Herry Wirawan, who was sentenced to life in prison in February after sexually grooming 13 girls between the ages of 12 and 16 and impregnating at least nine of his victims, was sentenced to life in prison, but prosecutors who sought the death penalty filed an appeal.

‘(We) hereby sentence the offender to death,’ the judge said in a statement on the Bandung High Court’s website on Monday.

Herry’s lawyer, Ira Mambo, declined to comment on whether an appeal would be filed, citing the need to see the whole court judgement..

Islamic school teacher who raped 13 students as young as 12 leaving eight pregnant now faces the death penalty after his life sentence was upgraded (photos)

A spokesperson for the local prosecutor’s office also said it would wait to receive the final ruling before commenting.

Between 2016 and 2021, Herry sexually groomed 13 girls, who were between 12 and 16 years old, and impregnated eight of his victims, a judge said in February.

Indonesian officials, including the country’s child protection minister, had also backed calls for the death penalty, though the nation’s human rights commission, which opposes the death penalty, said it was not appropriate.

Islamic school teacher who raped 13 students as young as 12 leaving eight pregnant now faces the death penalty after his life sentence was upgraded (photos)

Wirawan was handcuffed and sat with his head bowed as the judge handed down his sentence. The government will pay restitution to the victims, according to the court.

While the chairman of Indonesia’s Child Protection Commission said the initial verdict meant ‘justice for the victims has been served,’ a family member of one of the victims told the AFP news agency that he was’very disappointed’ that Wirawan did not receive a harsher sentence, warning that leniency would embolden other abusers.

‘This wound will not heal for as long as we live, possibly until we die.’ The anguish we’re experiencing is terrible. Hidmat Dijaya, an uncle of one of the 13 victims, stated, “We don’t feel heard.”

‘If the penalty is this lenient, there will be more Islamic teachers abusing youngsters,’ he warned.

‘We will leave it to God, as the ultimate judge, to punish him.’ Because those judges failed to express our grief and pain, we can only pray.’

Dedeh Marlina, a 42-year-old housewife who lives near Herry’s school, said she was relieved that the offender had been apprehended, but that the damage had already been done.

‘I know the most of them come from poor families in rural areas…unfortunately, they are now bearing the brunt of what occurred,’ she said.

Many of the victims did not report their rapes for fear of having to relive the painful experience, according to officials, and their parents had trusted that the boarding school was guiding their children to become decent and holy individuals.

Wirawan’s victims had also sustained injuries as a result of the rapes.

When the parents of a victim went to the authorities after their daughter returned home on vacation and claimed she had recently given birth, West Java police began investigating the case and arrested Wirawan in May.

The judges also decided that nine of the victims’ children should be given over to the Children and Women Protection Agency for 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 number of rapes and the amount of time they occurred sparked widespread outrage.

Indonesia contains tens of thousands of Islamic boarding schools and other religious schools, making it the world’s largest Muslim majority country.

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