Indonesia Murder Trial Highlights Police Impunity
Indonesia murder trial highlights police impunityas the trial of a former Indonesian police general accused of orchestrating the murder of his bodyguard started at a Jakarta court on Monday.
The investigation of former Inspector General and Head of Internal Affairs for the National Police Ferdy Sambo has captured the attention of the general public in a nation where public suspicion of the police is high according to surveys.
At first, the police said that Sambo's bodyguard, a brigadier named Nopryansyah Yosua Hutabarat who was 27 years old, was killed in a gunfight with another officer on July 8 at Sambo's apartment in Jakarta.
The family of Hutabarat asserted that there were evidence of torture on the bodyguard's body, which prompted a second autopsy. The results of the second autopsy showed that the police account of the events was incorrect.
Sambo, who was retired from the military with a dishonorable discharge in August, has been charged with premeditated murder, which is a crime that carries the potential for the death penalty, as well as obstruction of justice.
In court on Monday, a prosecution stated that Sambo had ordered one of his officers to shoot Hutabarat, before placing a final bullet in the back of his skull and shooting his gun into the wall to create the appearance of a shootout.
Accroding to what prosecutor, Sugeng Hariadi read from an indictment letter in the South Jakarta District Court,
Defendant Ferdy Sambo approached the victim Nofriansyah Yosua Hutabarat, who was lying face down and still moving in pain near the stairs next to the bathroom. Then, to make sure that he was really dead, defendant Ferdy Sambo, who was already wearing black gloves, grabbed a firearm and shot once into the left side of the back of Nopriansyah Yosua Hutabarat’s head.- An indictment letter read by prosecutor, Sugeng Hariadi, in the South Jakarta District Court
According to the prosecution, the suspect did it because they were convinced that Sambo's bodyguard had sexually harassed Sambo's wife.
In a newsconference held a week ago, Sambo's attorney claimed that his client had ordered Hutabarat to be assaulted rather than shot, but he declined to disclose how his client would plead in court.
In total, five persons are being investigated for possible involvement in the murder of Hutabarat, including Sambo, his wife, two police officers, and a driver. These individuals are all being held accountable for the killing of Hutabarat. The legal representative for Sambo's wife chose not to comment on her guilty plea.
A statement was made by the police chief in charge of the investigation, Listyo Sigit Prabowo, before the trial that there had been attempts to conceal or eliminate evidence. In a statement that was released on August 24th, Prabowo stated that there were 97 policemen being investigated, with 35 being accused of ethical infractions.
The verdict of the trial many experts believe is one of the most damaging scandals to ever involve the police is currently the subject of intense scrutiny from the general public.
According to Ardi Manto Adiputra, deputy director of rights group Imparsial,
This is a test not only for the police but also for the attorney general office and the court. It’s a test for our criminal justice system.- Ardi Manto Adiputra, deputy director of rights group Imparsial
The police department, which was recently classified as the least trusted of Indonesia's law enforcement organizations in a study conducted by pollster Indikator, is also facing fire over its role in a catastrophic soccer stampede that occurred earlier this month and resulted in the deaths of more than 130 people.