Wed, 22 Mar 2000

Court agrees to extradite American to RP

JAKARTA (JP): The South Jakarta District Court accepted on Tuesday a request from the government of the Republic of the Philippines to extradite United States citizen Dennis Austin Standefer to the neighboring country over an alleged criminal offense.

Judge Romana Pardede said Standefer had been indicted for rape in a Philippine court.

"According to Article 32 of the 1979 Law on Extradition, a suspect in a felony, including a rape case, can be deported to the country requesting extradition," she said in a hearing at the district court.

Standefer was charged early this year for allegedly raping a teenager in November 1994.

Romana said the court agreed to extradite the suspect as the alleged wrongdoing occurred in 1994 and had therefore not exceeded the statute of limitations.

"Article 78 of the Criminal Code Procedures stipulates that the time limitation on the prosecution of a rape case is 12 years," she said.

Prosecutor Madju Ambarita said in the previous hearing that Standefer's extradition was sought by Interpol on behalf of the Philippines early this year.

"The Jakarta Prosecutor's Office received the request on Jan. 22," he said.

The prosecutor said Standefer had been arrested in August last year at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport for overstaying his visa.

The Indonesian police coordinated with Interpol since last September over the possibility of extraditing Standefer to the Philippines. A formal request for his extradition was later made to the National Police.

Earlier, Standefer, through a translator, asked the judges to adjourn the hearing, citing an eye problem as the reason for the request.

"I have diabetes which causes me trouble with sight in my left eye," he told the hearing.

Romana rejected the request, saying an adjournment on health reasons required a letter from a doctor.

"Besides, Standefer can still participate in court proceedings and talk to the judge, lawyers and prosecutor," she said.

Standefer insisted that he was not guilty, saying that both he and the woman had agreed to live together as husband and wife. He said the woman was his fiancee.

The judge responded by saying that the court was not examining the substance of the case.

"It has nothing to do with the case. We will only decide on the Philippine government's request for extradition," she said.

After the hearing, the same judge examined another extradition request, also filed by the government of the Republic of the Philippines concerning a German national, Klaus Ernst Heinrich Gottschalk, 47, who was indicted in the Philippines for alleged illegal possession of firearms, gun components and ammunition.

In the indictment dated Jan. 31, prosecutor Emmanuel E. Velasco accused Klaus of violating Republic Act No. 8294 and Article 212 of the Philippines Revised Penal Code.

The hearing heard testimonies of two witnesses, Lt. Col. Desman Sinaga and Maj. Bahri of the National Police.

Desman said Klaus entered Indonesia last year after a successful escape from the Philippines.

The judge adjourned the hearing until next week to announce the verdict. (asa)