An Indonesian court has sentenced the principal of a school to death for raping thirteen students over the period of five years and impregnating at least eight of them.

The 36-year-old old man called Herry Wirawan is the principal of an Islamic boarding school in Bandung, West Java. He had been accused of raping girls 11 to 14 years of age between 2016 and 2021.

The case came to light after one of the victim's families approached the police when their daughter spoke of her ordeal. The girl had gone to visit her parents during the holidays when she admitted to having given birth. The police finally arrested Wirawan in May last year.

Herry Wirawan was initially sentenced to life in prison by Bandung District Court in February. But the prosecutors appealed against the verdict to the high court seeking death penalty for him, according to a report in The Independent.

Indonesia's Bandung High Court confirmed the death penalty for Wirawan and also asked him to pay compensation of 300 million Indonesian rupiahs (£15,922). "What he had done had caused trauma and suffering to the victims and their parents. The defendant had tarnished the reputation of Islamic boarding schools," the court said in its ruling.

It was revealed during the trial that the teacher assaulted his students on the pretext of giving them massages. The assault took place at different locations, including the school foundation's office, a boarding schoolroom, a hotel, and an apartment.

It also came to light that his wife was aware of the sexual assaults but did not do anything because she had been "brainwashed."

The court also ruled that the victim's children must be handed over to the Children and Women Protection Agency "until the victims are mentally ready to care for their children, and the situation allows for their children to be returned to the victims."

The prosecutors had also requested chemical castration but the court denied it stating that someone sentenced to death or life imprisonment may not be subject to other punishments, other than the revocation of some rights.

Wirawan's lawyer, Ira Mambo has said that her client has seven days to file an appeal against the sentence in Indonesia's Supreme Court and that she has advised her client to do so. Wirawan had pleaded guilty to his crimes and also apologized to his victims and their families during the trial.

The 16-year-old was raped by six men, including an 80-year-old, for months - Representational image Photo by Darkness on Unsplash