Sat, 03 Apr 2004

Inmates allegedly helped Gunawan plan to escape

Evi Mariani, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Two inmates at Salemba Penitentiary and an ex-convict allegedly helped defendant Gunawan Santosa in his foiled escape attempt on Tuesday on his way from the prison to the North Jakarta District Court.

Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Makbul Padmanagara said on Friday that Gunawan arranged the escape plan with the help of Y, an inmate serving a sentence for theft with violence and embezzlement who was also supposed to escape with Gunawan from the Salemba.

They both received help from M, an inmate serving time for theft, and an ex-convict Y who prepared facilities to be used after Gunawan and inmate Y managed to escape.

"Based on our investigation, there is a strong indication that the pistol (the .32 caliber Beretta) carried by Gunawan came from the penitentiary. A witness said that he had seen the pistol in Salemba before Gunawan took it with him inside the paddy wagon," he said.

Makbul declined to go into details, saying that not all facts from the ongoing investigation were for public consumption.

He refused to comment on the progress of the questioning of three North Jakarta Prosecutor's Office personnel -- Dadang, Padmawinata and Sukrisman -- who have been named suspects in the case. The three were named suspects for deliberately not handcuffing Gunawan or searching him before getting into the vehicle.

Instead, Makbul only commented that if a criminal escaped from a police detention center, he would immediately investigate his subordinates instead of blaming other institutions.

Shortly after Gunawan attempted to escape from the paddy wagon carrying him to the court on Tuesday, Attorney General's Office spokesman Kiemas Yahya held a press conference to announce that the prosecutor's office had indeed requested the North Jakarta Police to escort Gunawan. However, no police officers were present to guard the defendant inside the paddy wagon. There were only the three personnel of the prosecutor's office including the driver.

The North Jakarta Police later admitted that they received a written request but it came too late, four hours after the foiled escape attempt.

Gunawan was scheduled to stand trial for premeditated murder of his ex-wife's father Boedyharto Angsono, president director of PT Aneka Sarana Bakti (Asaba), and his off-duty Special Armed Forces (Kopassus) bodyguard when the incident occurred.

Police claimed that Gunawan pointed a gun at the guard and ordered him to uncuff him before the two were involved in a fight in which the gun went off, hitting him in the midriff.

But eyewitnesses said that Gunawan fell from the vehicle, hit his head on the asphalt and fell unconscious. They claimed they did not see blood stains on Gunawan's shirt and his hands were not handcuffed when he was taken unconscious to a nearby clinic.

As of Friday, Gunawan was still being treated at Soekanto Police Hospital in Kramat Jati, East Jakarta. He underwent surgery on Wednesday to remove a bullet from his midriff. Police confirmed that the bullet came from a .32 caliber Beretta.