Jakarta. The West Java High Court on Monday sentenced an Islamic boarding school teacher to death after he was guilty of raping at least 13 students and impregnating several of them.
The verdict follows a successful appeal by prosecutors.
Herry Wirawan was earlier found guilty by the Bandung District Court and sentenced to life imprisonment during the sentencing hearing in February, but prosecutors immediately lodged an appeal to the high court.
The case stirred public anger across the country and led many to demand capital punishment against the defendant.
The high court panel presided over by Judge Herri Swantoro accepted the appeal by prosecutors, who have demanded the death sentence since the initial trial at the district court.
"[The West Java High Court] affirms the appeal from the prosecutors and accordingly we sentence the defendant to death," the verdict reads as quoted by Antara news agency.
The panel also orders that the defendant remains in custody.
Under the country’s justice system, the defendant can still appeal to the Supreme Court, which has the authority to deliver the final verdict and sentencing – if the conviction is upheld.
Herry, 36, was found guilty of raping his own students under the tough Child Protection Law that carries a death sentence for serial child rapists.
He was fully in charge of female students entrusted at his boarding school in the West Java capital of Bandung and he misused religious symbols and teachings to molest underage students, prosecutors have said.
Courts documents reveal that several of his victims have given birth to nine babies. One victim has now had two children.
He has raped his students since 2016 at his boarding schools, hotel rooms, or apartments, according to the indictment.
The West Java Police began to investigate the case in May of last year but it wasn’t until December that the media learned about the shocking scandal as the court hearing began.
Police argued at that time that they didn’t give public exposure to the case to “prevent further psychological and social damages on the victims.”