Thu, 03 Feb 2005

Adiguna's case on the way to court

Abdul Khalik, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Prosecutors sent on Wednesday murder suspect Adiguna Sutowo to the notorious Salemba prison, pending his trial expected to start later this month.

Head of the intelligence unit at the Jakarta Prosecutor's Office, Farried Haryanto, said prosecutors were now drafting the indictment on the shooting of Yohannes Berchmans "Rudy" Haerudy Natong which took place early in the new year.

"I'm sure we can submit the case to court in a week because we don't have to rewrite much from the police's case file," he told The Jakarta Post.

Adiguna, a member of the prominent family of the late Ibnu Sutowo, a former president of state oil and gas company Pertamina, and the youngest brother of property magnate Ponco Sutowo, will be charged under laws on murder and the illegal possession of firearms.

The Criminal Code carries a maximum sentence of 15 years' imprisonment, while the 1951 Emergency Law on explosives carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

The handcuffed Adiguna kept his head down and did not reply to reporters' questions as he was taken from city police detention to the Jakarta Prosecutor's Office.

Clad in a white Muslim shirt, the former national car racer was guarded by ten detectives.

Adiguna was directed into the prosecutor's office with no opportunity given for reporters to question him.

A panel of a glass door was broken, and several of the reporters were hurt as they tried to get closer to Adiguna.

The prosecutor's office announced on Monday that the case file of Adiguna was complete and asked police to hand over the suspect and evidence to them.

Meanwhile, Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Firman Gani said that, according to data from National Police Headquarters, the gun was not licensed and its ownership was unclear.

"Of course, the gun is an illegal one. And we don't need to find his fingerprints on it before placing charges against him. I think laboratory and ballistic tests are enough to back the charges. It is up to the prosecutors now. I hope that the trial will be fair," he said.

So far, the police and the prosecutors have depended on witnesses affidavits and forensic tests to charge Adiguna as they could not find his fingerprints on the gun, nor on the 19 bullets found in Adiguna's hotel room.

Firman said the police were still gathering evidence to charge Adiguna with drug abuse.

"We will separate the case file (on drug abuse) from the first one. So, there will be two different trials. However, we are still completing the evidence, and waiting for the results of forensic tests on Adiguna's nail clippings and hair from national headquarters," he added.