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East Java councilor allegedly offers to pay rape victim to drop charges against aide

Jakarta Post - May 16, 2020

Asip Hasani, Surabaya, East Java – A member of the Regional Legislative Council (DPRD) of Gresik in East Java has allegedly offered Rp 1 billion (US$67,211) in compensation to the family of a 16-year-old in exchange for the latter's withdrawal of rape accusations against the councilor's close friend.

The victim's family filed a police report on April 24, accusing security guard Sugianto, 53, of rape. Several days later, councilor Nur Hudi of the NasDem Party allegedly visited the family at their home and offered to build them a house worth Rp 500 million.

A source at the Metatu village office, who claims to be familiar with the case and has requested anonymity for safety reasons, told The Jakarta Post that Sugianto was not only Nur's close friend but also his loyal supporter when the politician served as the village head.

The victim's sister wrote a letter to the council's ethics board explaining the incident – a copy of which was obtained by the Post.

"Pak Nur promised my mother to build the house, as long as my mother agreed to revoke the police report and settle the case outside the legal domain. My mother rejected the offer," the sister wrote in the letter.

She added that the councilor had later raised the offer to Rp 1 billion, which was rejected again by her mother.

The victim, a junior high school student, is now seven-months pregnant.

The mother and sister work in rice fields and as domestic helpers to make ends meet since the father died years ago.

Sugianto, a relative of the mother's, allegedly raped the 16-year-old girl one year ago in his house, which stands within walking distance from the girl's house.

"Sugianto allegedly abused [the girl] five times and threatened to curse the mother with santet [black magic] if she resisted him," said Syafii, a local activist providing legal assistance to the family in the case.

The councilor's lawyer, Al Ushudi, said the councilor had offered to help the victim's family out of concern for the family's economic hardship.

"Pak Hudi only focuses on the future of the girl and the baby and doesn't mean to hamper the legal process of the case," the lawyer said on Thursday.

Following criticism from activists that police were sluggish in responding to the report, Gresik Police criminal investigation chief Adj. Comr. Panji P. Wijaya said investigators had detained Sugianto on Friday following questioning.

"[Sugianto] told investigators that he had given the victim Rp 100,000 after raping her," Panji said on Friday. (kuk)

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/05/16/east-java-councilor-allegedly-offers-to-pay-rape-victim-to-drop-charges-against-aide.html