Rev. Rinaldy Damanik was arrested in September 11, 2002 when he went to Jakarta at the invitation of the Indonesia National Police (Mabes POLRI). He was to testify as a witness to the August 2002 violence in the Poso district of Central Sulawesi. He was originally charged with the possession of homemade firearms that were allegedly confiscated when his vehicle was searched in Poso. The conflict between Christians and Muslims in Poso has claimed over 2000 lives during the three years of violence. In addition on February 18, 2003 Rev Damanik boycotted his hearing when he learned he had been named as a provocateur of religious violence. The prosecution has failed to produce a single credible witness linking Rev. Damanik to the searched auto and the charges of provocateur have been dropped. It appears Rev. Damanik may have been a pawn in a much larger conflict not just about religion but one with political, economic and military concerns. On June 16, 2003 Reverend Damanik was sentenced to three years imprisonment for illegal weapons possession. He plans to appeal this sentence. His Muslim lawyers have been accused of violating their religion for taking part in this appeal. The names of Damanik's supporters were published in local newspapers with threats that they too would be arrested.
Praise the Lord! On November 9, 2004 at 10:30 a.m. local time Rev. Rinaldy Damanik was released from prison. This is an answer to prayer. While in prison he received over 26,000 letters from Christians around the world. Please continue to pray for his safety.
According to International Friends of Compassion, Rev. Rinaldy Damanik received news on September 24, 2004 that he may be paroled in November. A Muslim Cleric sent by God to visit Rev. Damanik signed a guarantee concerning the prisoner’s integrity and good character. The possibility of soon being with his wife and daughter and working again with the church community is encouraging. However, he knows the legal system could continue to restrict his freedom and deny this parole. Pray this early release will be granted. Encourage him by writing a letter. Let him know you are praying.