Fri, 11 Apr 2003

Akbar defamation case adjourned

JAKARTA: House of Representative Speaker Akbar Tandjung could not testify against the chief editor of the Rakyat Merdeka daily newspaper, Karim Paputungan, as the defendant was sick Thursday.

Presiding Judge Asnahwati adjourned the hearing for a week after Karim's lawyers walked out of the courtroom.

After the hearing, Akbar, who looked upset, blamed prosecutor Soepomo for the delay. He said he had wasted time set aside for the hearing.

The Golkar Party chairman was accompanied by dozens of the party members.

Akbar, who was recently sentenced to three years in jail for corruption by the Central Jakarta District Court, reported Karim to police for defamation after the daily published a caricature featuring a shirtless Akbar with a glaring heading: "Akbar is doomed, Golkar cries for blood" early last year.

Defamation carries a maximum jail sentence of one year and four months. -- JP