Tue, 21 Nov 2000

Court may move Bob Hasan to Salemba Penitentiary

JAKARTA (JP): The Central Jakarta District Court is considering removal of timber tycoon Mohamad "Bob" Hasan, the defendant in a multimillion-dollar graft case, from his detention at the Attorney General's office to the Salemba penitentiary for health reasons.

The proposal was raised by state prosecutors after Hasan complained of a severe headache just before listening to the testimony of the fourth witness in Monday's hearing.

"The defendant did not appear in the past three court sessions, because of illness. Today, he can't hear the fourth witness who came all the way from Bandung, West Java, to give testimony," prosecutor Arnold Angkouw told the hearing.

Presiding judge Subardi adjourned the hearing until Thursday and promised to take the request into consideration.

"Prosecutors have said that at the Salemba Penitentiary, the defendant could get special medical treatment, something the defendant is obviously not getting at the detention center of the Attorney General's Office," Subardi said.

The delay means the fourth witness, B. Santoso, has to return to Jakarta from Bandung at his own expense.

Arnold suggested that it was best for the defendant to be transferred to the Salemba Penitentiary, where he could get special medical treatment.

"I escorted the defendant to the Pertamina Hospital in South Jakarta recently and got him examined by neurologist Suryo Atmodjo, who concluded that the defendant was alright except for his bent back, which could be related to his headaches and vomiting.

"Otherwise in the coming hearings, he might not show up again ... and this could adversely affect this trial."

Like Hasan, his golf buddy former president Soeharto escaped trial for corruption by not attending any of the three court sessions at the South Jakarta District Court due to illness.

The former president's defense lawyers have said their client should never have to face court again due to his permanent ill health resulting from three strokes he has suffered.

The Jakarta High Court overturned the ruling of the lower court this month.

Prosecutors have charged defendant Hasan with defrauding the state of US$ 75.62 million, and the Indonesian Forest Concessionaires Association (APHI) of another $168 million through a fraudulent aerial mapping project. (ylt)