Tue, 31 Oct 2000

Convicted Tommy appeals for a case review

JAKARTA (JP): Businessman Hutomo Mandala Putra, alias Tommy, convicted to serve 18 months imprisonment for corruption, filed for a review of his case with the South Jakarta District Court on Monday in a last ditch attempt to avoid going to prison.

But if Attorney General Marzuki Darusman has his way, the motion may even expedite the day that the youngest son of former president Soeharto goes to jail, probably in a matter of a few days.

B.E.D. Siregar, a lawyer representing Tommy, filed the case review papers and insisted on his client's innocence even if he had filed a petition for a presidential pardon.

An application for pardon requires the person to first confess his guilt. President Abdurrahman Wahid, who is bent on seeing Soeharto, his children and cronies face trial on corruption charges, has already indicated that he would not pardon Tommy.

The President last week disclosed that Tommy had met with him personally to plead his case but to no avail.

"The request for a case review is the only remaining avenue for him to seek reprieve," Siregar of Bob Nasution & Associate law firm, who represents Tommy, told journalists after submitting the papers to the court.

Siregar said the defense counsel had found some new evidence to support the application for a case review.

Though he declined to mention what the new evidence might be.

The Supreme Court on Sept. 22 reversed a lower court ruling which exonerated Tommy of corruption charges in a land exchange deal between State Logistic Agency and PT Goro Batara Sakti in which Tommy was a commissioner with 80 percent of shares.

The Supreme Court instead sentenced Tommy to an 18-month jail term and ordered him to pay Rp 30.7 billion ($3.34 million) to the state.

His partner in PT Goro, businessman Ricardo Galael, was also sentenced to 18-months in jail by the Supreme Court. He too has applied for a presidential pardon.

Both applications are now in the hands of the Supreme Court and have not even reached the President's office. By law, the President hears the advice of the Supreme Court and the Minister of Justice in deciding whether or not to grant a pardon.

The South Jakarta District Court ordered a stay of execution of its ruling pending the outcome of Tommy's application for pardon.

Attorney General Marzuki told reporters in his office later on Monday that by requesting a case review, Tommy has forfeited his right for a stay of execution of the Supreme Court ruling.

"As soon as we receive the papers from the court notifying us of the application for a case review, we only need a few days to execute the Supreme Court ruling," Marzuki said.

He said that the South Jakarta Prosecutors Office had submitted an application to the South Jakarta Court to lift its order for stay of execution on Oct. 23 when it heard Tommy's plan to ask for a case review.

South Jakarta District Court spokesman Judge Soedarto said on Monday that Tommy's appeal for a case review with the Supreme Court was in contradiction to his earlier request for a pardon.

Tommy had not withdrawn his pardon appeal, he pointed out.

"The Criminal Code Procedures does not ban a review appeal, but this is certainly contradictory to Tommy's request for a pardon, which is an admission of guilt," he said.

A clerk to the court said Tommy's request for a case review would be submitted to the Supreme Court within 30 days, after the file is reviewed and a response from the state prosecutors' office is received. (01/bby)