An Indonesian Islamic boarding school principal has been sentenced to death after he raped at least 13 girls over the course of five years.
Herry Wirawan was initially sentenced in February to life in prison for raping the girls, aged 12 to 16 years old, between 2016 and 2021 in West Java city. The 36-year-old also impregnated at least eight girls.
Local authorities first launched an investigation into Wirawan in May last year, after a girl returned home from holiday and confessed to her parents she had given birth.
Police said many of the victims over the years had been scared to come forward.
After the sentence in February, prosecutors then appealed for the death penalty, and it was granted by the court on Monday April 4.
“What he had done had caused trauma and suffering to the victims and their parents,” the the court said in the ruling posted on its website. “The defendant had tarnished the reputation of Islamic boarding schools.”
The court also ordered Wirawan provide monetary compensation to each of the victims for their psychological treatment.
The children the girls gave birth will be handed to the Children and Women Protection Agency for periodic evaluations until the victims are “mentally ready” to take care of them, according to the Washington Post.
Authorities had not publicized the case until now to protect the victims from further psychological damage.
Wirawan pleaded guilty to all charges, but his lawyer has advised him to appeal the court’s decision. He has a week until the court’s decision is final.
In Indonesia, few sex crimes are prosecuted due to the lack of a legal framework, and victims are often shamed during the interrogation process, according to Reuters. Bills to expedite convictions have often been put on hold by conservative parties.
The case prompted national outrage, and President Joko Widodo has asked lawmakers to speed up the process of approving a long-delayed bill that will protect victims of sexual violence.