Parents of Medan church attack suspect apologise to Christians

Parents of Medan church attack suspect, Makmur Hasugian, 65, (second from left), and Arista Purba, 54, (third from left)  apologise to Christians during a press conference in Medan on Sept 1.
Parents of Medan church attack suspect, Makmur Hasugian, 65, (second from left), and Arista Purba, 54, (third from left) apologise to Christians during a press conference in Medan on Sept 1. PHOTO: JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

MEDAN, Indonesia (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Parents of a 17-year-old accused of attacking a church in Medan have apologised to Christians, especially Catholics, for their son's alleged attempt to bomb the St. Yosep Catholic Church in Medan and to kill the priest Albertus Pandiangan.

The parents conveyed the apology during a press conference on Thursday (Sept 1) in the office of Medan's Indonesian Advocates Association (Peradi).

Mr Makmur Hasugian, the 65-year-old father of the accused, said his family was shocked to learn about the attack against the church.

"Our family apologised. There has been no intention at all from us to hurt Christians, especially Catholics. We have Christians among our family," Mr Makmur said, crying.

He said his son was not a criminal but a victim of radical teachings, adding that there were people who influenced him and pushed him into radicalism.

"My son is the victim of radicalism. He is not a criminal. Someone persuaded him to do that," said Mr Makmur, who was formerly a lawyer.

The boy's mother Arista Purba, 54, said she was negligent in monitoring her son. "This is my fault. I didn't closely monitor him."

She said she had visited her son at the Medan Police office and he had apologised to all the people who were affected by his actions.

"He apologised for terrorising many people and getting his family into trouble," she added.

The accused was from state high school SMA 4 in Medan and just graduated this year. He turns 18 in October.