BTV, Jakarta – Richard Eliezer, the convicted murderer of fellow officer Nofriansyah Yosua Hutabarat, is no longer under the custody of the Witness and Victim Protection Agency, or LPSK, which accused him of breaching the rules.
But the National Police said on Sunday Richard will be put under their protection.
"Since the investigation began until he was prosecuted and tried, he was protected by the police and so far his health condition is good," National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo said.
His comments came two days after the LPSK announced the discontinuation of the protection program for Richard after he gave an interview with Jakarta-based Kompas TV without the agency's consent.
The broadcaster argued that it had been granted permission from the justice minister and the director general of the correctional center to interview the convict and that the LPSK had been handed a copy of the approval letter.
Kompas TV Chief Editor Rosiana Silalahi said the LPSK has "made the media a scapegoat" in discontinuing protection for Richard.
Justice Minister Yasonna Laoly confirmed on Saturday he had given his approval for the interview to "shed light on what actually happened" in the high-profile murder case.
Richard, who admitted to having shot Yosua multiple times in close range in the July 8 murder, was controversially sentenced to just 18 months while the convicted mastermind, former police general Ferdy Sambo, got the death sentence.
The panel of judges at the South Jakarta District Court argued that Richard has helped law enforcement agencies uncover the murder case by acting as a "justice collaborator".
The preliminary police investigation bought Ferdy's claim that Yosua was killed in a shootout and not intentionally murdered.
But a bombshell revelation by Richard who said that he was ordered by Ferdy to shoot an unarmed Yosua prompted the National Police to form a new investigation team and named Ferdy, his wife Putri Candrawathi, and two other persons as murder suspects.
Richard decided to accept his sentence, meaning his verdict is final and binding. The remaining defendants, however, immediately filed an appeal to the Jakarta High Court.
The district court also convicted six former officers of obstruction of justice for their attempts to cover up the murder by tampering with evidence and the crime scene to support Ferdy's version of a shootout.