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Missionary’s killer expected to appeal

Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia
Sep. 23, 2003 • Tuesday September 23, 2003

The leader of a Hindu mob that burned alive an Australian missionary in India four years ago is expected to appeal against the death sentence he received yesterday.

A district court in India has handed down sentences against 13 men who have been convicted of murdering Graham Staines and his two sons.

The court sentenced Dara Singh, the man accused of leading the group, to death.

Twelve others have been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Mr Staines and his sons died after the vehicle in which they were sleeping was set ablaze by a mob in the eastern state of Orissa.

In sentencing Singh, the judge found him as the central figure in the attacks, a role that required nothing less than the death penalty.

A relative of Mr Staines and his two sons has expressed dismay at the death sentence.

“I didn’t want to see the man put to death,” John Staines, elder brother of Graham, said.

He had demanded mercy for Singh as well as the others involved in the attack.

“He has to answer to God for what he did,” he said. “You would never get over what happened if you can’t forgive.”

“They committed a terrible crime but the sort of thing that Jesus Christ espoused was that if we can’t forgive our fellow men than how can he forgive us.”

Queensland Baptist Union general superintendent David Loder says Mr Staines’ wife has already forgiven his killers.

“I can only respond in the same way Mrs Staines has, where she has offered forgiveness to the perpetrators of the crime, and we’d be supportive of Mrs Staines in her attitude to the whole situation.”

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