The case of teacher Herry Wirawan shocked Indonesia and shone a light on the need to protect children from sexual violence in the country’s religious boarding schools.
After he was sentenced to life in prison by a Bandung city court in February, the prosecutors who had requested the death penalty appealed.
“(We) hereby punish the accused with the death penalty,” the judge said in a statement posted on the Bandung High Court website on Monday.
Ira Mambo, Herry’s lawyer, declined to say whether there would be an appeal, citing the need to see the court’s full decision.
A spokesperson for the local prosecutor’s office also said they would wait to receive the final ruling before commenting.
Between 2016 and 2021, Herry sexually groomed the 13 girls, who ranged in age from 12 to 16, and impregnated eight of his victims, a judge ruled in February. Some were injured during his rape.
Indonesian officials, including the country’s child welfare minister, had also backed calls for the death penalty, although the national human rights commission, which opposes the death penalty, said it was not appropriate.
Indonesia, the largest Muslim-majority country in the world, has tens of thousands of Islamic boarding schools and other religious schools that are often the only way children from the poorest families can get an education.