Stevani Wijaya, Jakarta – Indonesian prosecutors on Friday demanded prison sentences between one and three years for six former middle and high-ranking officers accused of obstruction of justice in police's initial probe into the murder of Brigadier Nofriansyah Yosua Hutabarat.
The six defendants have allegedly destroyed key evidence such as security camera footage, telecommunication records, and computer files in an attempt to cover up the July 8 murder and protect the suspected mastermind, former police general Ferdy Sambo, from criminal prosecution, the South Jakarta District Court heard.
The sentencing demands were read out in two separate hearings which were held in tandem with the murder trials against five other defendants.
Hendra Kurniawan, the most senior defendant among the six who lost his rank as a brigadier general in an internal ethic tribunal before the trial began, and Agus Nurpatria, whose last rank was a chief commissioner, were recommended to serve three years in prison.
Prosecutors criticized Hendra for his "persistent denials" and "continued attempts to invent alibis which are implausible".
"The defendant, who used to serve as the head of the internal security bureau of the National Police headquarters, should have kept fellow service members in their sworn duties, but instead he has involved himself in a conduct that betrays the rule of law," a prosecutor said while reading out the demand.
Hendra and Agus are accused of removing digital voice recorder and footage from security cameras near the murder scene.
Prosecutors demanded a prison sentence of two years for Baiquni Wibowo and Chuck Putranto – both have served as police commissioners – for allegedly keeping records from security cameras and destroying computer files and a laptop used to save documents from the initial phase of the investigation.
Irfan Widyanto (last rank adjunct commissioner) and Arif Rachman Arifin (last rank adjunct chief commissioner) are facing one year's imprisonment.
Irfan has allegedly removed digital voice recorders from several cameras near the crime scene while Arif is accused of destroying a laptop used in the investigation.
It emerged during court hearings that the victim's mobile phone was nowhere to be found when first responders from the South Jakarta Police arrived at the scene.
Prosecutors also sought a fine of up to Rp 20 million for the six defendants, or alternatively, the jail term is added by another three months.
The first version of the police investigation, strangely announced three days after the murder, claimed that Yosua died in a shootout with fellow officer Second Patrolman Richard Eliezer.
But after public uproar and anger from Yosua's family, the National Police headquarters relaunched the investigation with a new team and detained Ferdy.
It was later found that an unarmed Yosua was shot multiple times by Richard on Ferdy's order.
The disgraced police general claimed without evidence that Yosua was attacked because he had raped Ferdy's wife Putri Candrawathi.
Yosua was murdered at Ferdy's official residence in South Jakarta, not far from his private home. Police alleged that Ferdy himself fired the final shot at Yosua's head.
In previous hearings, prosecutors recommended a life sentence for Ferdy, 12 years' imprisonment for Richard, and eight years in prison for Putri and two other defendants in the murder case.