Tue, 18 Apr 2000

Anas receives 10 months probation

JAKARTA (JP): The Central Jakarta District Court sentenced defendant Anas Alamudi on Monday to five months in jail for driving his car into a cordon of troops and injuring eight of them on Nov. 10, 1998. The sentence was probated to 10 months.

"The defendant is guilty of violating Article 360 of the Criminal Code," said presiding judge Hupojo in a hearing at the district court.

Present at the hearing, which started at 12:00 p.m., were prosecutor Samadi Budisyam and the defendant's lawyers from the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute, Paulus R. Mahulette and Irianto Subiyakto.

Also present were dozens of students who gave their support to Anas during the two-hour hearing.

Paulus said the defendant would not go to jail, unless he committed a criminal offense within the 10-month probation period.

"He will have to serve five months in jail, if he commits a criminal offense during the 10-month probation," he told The Jakarta Post after the hearing.

Judge Hupojo said the 23-year-old defendant drove his red Volkswagen into a cordon of troops, assembled on Jl. Imam Bonjol in Central Jakarta, precisely in front of Bank Bumi Daya building.

The troops were assembled to prevent student protesters from marching toward the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) building located on Jl. Gatot Subroto, several kilometers away.

The capital was gripped by tension at that time as waves of protesters surrounded the Assembly's special session.

Around 5,000 to 7,000 protesters planned to march to the Assembly building in an effort to disrupt the session, that they claimed was being held by unconstitutional legislators, legacies of the New Order era.

The judge said Anas at first drove the vehicle slowly on Jl. Imam Bonjol, but he was trapped in the middle of student protesters and troops. Getting panicked as the troops moved toward the students, he then drove the car into the phalanx and injured eight personnel, including three with severe injuries: Second Lt. Paryono, First. Cpl. Tugiyono and Second Pvt. Susilo.

Afraid that the troops might retaliate for his action, Anas sped toward Hotel Indonesia and Jl. Blora before he was finally stopped and arrested by security personnel at Plaza Mashill II on Jl. Sudirman, Central Jakarta.

Anas, currently works as a journalist at a Jakarta-based online news provider, rejected the verdict.

"We're considering filing an appeal. The judges did not consider the lawyers's defense statement," he told reporters, but did not elaborate.

Similarly, Paulus said he was considering an appeal, although his client did not have to serve any jail sentence.

"If we accept the verdict, people will assume Anas is guilty.

"He's not guilty since he was forced by the situation to do so, to protect himself from angry soldiers," he said.

The verdict is lower than the term sought by prosecutor Samadi, who demanded in the previous hearing that the court sentence the defendant to six months in jail, with 10 months probation. (asa)