Wed, 21 May 2003

Court rejects journalists' lawsuit

JAKARTA: The South Jakarta District Court turned down on Tuesday the lawsuit filed by two press associations against the government, police and the Indonesian military (TNI) for not prosecuting a soldier linked to the murder of a reporter in 1996.

The panel of five judges, led by Judge Tusani Djafri, ruled that the district court had no jurisdiction to hear the case filed by the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) and the South East Asia Press Alliance (SEAPA).

"The plaintiff shall bring the case to the state administrative court instead, as it is connected to alleged abuse by the authorities," Tusani said at the hearing.

The plaintiffs' lawyer, Daniel Panjaitan, would appeal the verdict.

A journalist with Yogyakarta-based Bernas daily, Muhammad "Udin" Syafiudin, was killed in 1996 following his report on an alleged corruption case involving officials of Bantul regency, which led to the dismissal of the regent.

Second Adj. Insp. Edy Wuryanto stood trial at the military tribunal for throwing Udin's blood-stained shirt, which was supposedly key evidence, into the sea. The case remains unsolved.

A witness, Dwi Sumadji, said he saw Edy beat Udin before he was killed by a group of people, but was instead named a suspect in the case and was tried, although he was acquitted. -- JP