APSN Banner

Analysis: Court showcases, justice collaboration pays

Jakarta Post - February 27, 2023

Tenggara Strategics, Jakarta – Here is what the court has established in the murder case of Brig. Nofriansyah Yosua Hutabarat: Second Agency Richard Eliezer fired five times at point blank and Insp. Gen. Ferdy Sambo, at the time the internal affairs chief of the National Police, finished the job by firing two more shots. Ferdy got the death sentence and Richard 18 months in jail as the South Jakarta District Court wrapped up the high profile murder trials last week.

The difference between the two is that while Richard fully cooperated with the court, Ferdy lied throughout the hearings. The court recognized Richard's role as a justice collaborator who helped reveal the mystery of the July 8, 2022 murder. In court, it came down to his word against Ferdy's and three other accomplices, including Sambo's wife Putri Chandrawathi.

The court went with Richard's version of the event to establish that it was a premeditated murder and gave Ferdy the maximum penalty allowed under the penal code. It found that 24-year old Richard, who like Yosua was an adjutant to Ferdy, was carrying out an order from his boss, and given their power relations he could not have refused.

Richard applied for justice collaboration status a week after the case came to light. His story, that he shot Yosua five times and Ferdy two more, destroyed the version that Ferdy had put out, with the help of the entire National Police information division, that there was a shootout between Yosua and Richard, and that Yosua had completely missed his target.

The Witness and Protection Agency (LPSK) had given Richard protection against the possibility of henchmen hired by Ferdy attempting his life. When the court read out the verdict on Feb. 15, LPSK officers wearing bullet-proof vests surrounded Richard, who refused to wear one himself, against possible snipers.

The LPSK wrote to the public prosecutors and judges handling the case to go for the lightest sentence possible. The prosecutors ignored it and sought 12 years imprisonment, but the court recognized the role Richard played in resolving the murder case. The agency has further written to the court asking for a sentence remission for its client's good behavior. If the court agrees, Richard, who has been detained since August 2022 in an undisclosed location, will be free by May.

The court never established the real motive for the murder but dismissed Ferdy's claim that Yosua had raped Putri and that he got so emotional and decided to take revenge. Ferdy claimed that Richard mistook his burst of anger as an order to kill Yosua. The court again said given their power relations, it would have been inconceivable that Yosua would sexually harass the wife of his boss. Putri in court supported Ferdy's claim of rape. She got 20 years, and another junior officer, Ricky Rizal, and driver Kuat Ma'ruf got 13 and 15 years, respectively.

The early allegations that Ferdy was running a national online gambling syndicate, a possible factor in the murder case, also disappeared, and no institution had picked it up to investigate. The banking community must also answer questions of why several accounts in Yosua's name, clearly used as a proxy, had been emptied after his death.

What's more

The prosecutors claimed that Ferdy planned the murder when he learned that his wife had an affair with Yosua. This claim of a love affair is irrelevant. Motive, as it turns out, is not an important element in a premeditated murder trial.

During the hearing, prosecutors presented the results of polygraph tests on the five defendants, showing Putri was the least honest, followed by Ferdy. Only Richard passed the test. The results were not used in the court's decision.

The verdicts contrast with the sentences sought by public prosecutors. They had asked for life imprisonment for Ferdy, eight years each for Putri, Kuat and Ricky, and 12 years for Richard. Tempo magazine reported that both the judges and public prosecutors received interventions from high places as well as death threats against them or their family members during the course of the hearings, which may or may not have affected their decisions.

The verdicts closed a chapter of a four-month court drama that had been broadcasted live by several national TV stations. Assuming all suspects except Richard will appeal, their cases will be heard behind closed doors. The court is still to read the verdicts against six other police officers, including a brigadier general, who have been tried for obstruction of justice for their alleged role in destroying evidence of the murder to fit Ferdy's version of events. Other than losing some of its officers, the National Police as an institution has come out unscathed, although some questions that surfaced during the investigations and trials have remained unanswered.

One question is: Why did National Police chief Gen. Lystio Sigit Prabowo keep silent if he had been informed by Ferdy on the night of the killing? Lystio only spoke up four days later. There is also the question about Ferdy's massive wealth, including his ability to offer Rp 5 billion each to Richard, Ricky and Kuat to go along with his version. No officer, not even a top one like Ferdy, could have that kind of money on a police salary.

The early allegations that Ferdy was running a national online gambling syndicate, a possible factor in the murder case, also disappeared, and no institution had picked it up to investigate.

The banking community must also answer questions of why several accounts in Yosua's name, clearly used as a proxy, had been emptied after his death.

What we've heard

Prior to the sentencing of former National Police internal affairs chief Ferdy Sambo for the murder of his subordinate Brig. Nofriansyah Yosua Hutabarat, Coordinating Politics, Law and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD said a brigadier general wanted to see the court hand a light sentence to the defendant.

A source close to the police said the officer came from an elite unit of the National Police and had served in the Ferdy-led Red and White Task Force. This officer was assigned to approach South Jakarta District Court officials, including several people close to the presiding judge Wahyu Iman Santoso, so that Ferdy would receive a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. "But these lobbies did not work," said the source.

This source said officers close to Ferdy are afraid of the repercussions of his trial, not only because of the murder case itself, but also because of the issue of protection racket for gambling den operators which implicates Ferdy. This source revealed that as a former National Police internal affairs chief, Ferdy knew many high-ranking police officers' "sins".

The source further said Ferdy still has a number of loyalists within the police force.

Apart from the internal police, a Supreme Court justice affiliated with a pro-government political party also tried to influence the panel of judges. A source said the justice questioned the death sentence handed to Ferdy. "The motive of the justice, however, remains unclear," said the source.

[This content is provided by Tenggara Strategics in collaboration with The Jakarta Post to serve the latest comprehensive and reliable analysis on Indonesia's political and business landscape.]

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/opinion/2023/02/27/analysis-court-showcases-justice-collaboration-pays.htm