Sat, 08 Apr 2000

Military court opens hearing in drug prosecution of Agus Isrok

JAKARTA (JP): The Jakarta Military Court began on Friday the very long-awaited military trial of Army Special Force's (Kopassus) Second. Lt. Agus Isrok over his alleged possession and trafficking of drugs last August.

Scores of military police were present guarding Agus, who appeared in the courtroom in an Army uniform and a service cap, but not in his Red Beret, the pride of his corps.

Also present at the initial hearing were military prosecutors Maj. Bambang Aribowo and Maj. P. Situmorang, and the defendant's lawyers, including Col. A.B. Setiawan and Capt. N. Sirait of the Army's Law Directorate, and Lt. Col. A. Affandi, head of the Kopassus' Legal Section.

Visitors, including journalists, military court staff and the public, also packed the courtroom during the one-hour hearing, which started at 9 a.m. Kopassus were not seen at the hearing, unlike last year's trial of 11 Kopassus members who were found guilty of abducting student activists in 1998.

In Friday's hearing, presided over by judge Col. Sarman Mulyana, prosecutor Maj. Bambang Aribowo indicted the Army officer for possessing and carrying narcotic and psychotropic substances during his stay at a hotel in West Jakarta in August last year, along with his alleged accomplice Donny Hendrian.

"The defendant has violated both article 78 of the 1997 Law on Narcotic and article 62 of the 1997 Law on Psychotropic Substances," the prosecutor said at the hearing in Pondok Kopi area, East Jakarta.

Article 78 of the anti-narcotics law carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail and a maximum fine of Rp 500 million (US$71,428). Meanwhile, article 62 of the Law on Psychotropic Substances carries a maximum sentence of five years in jail and a maximum fine of Rp 20 million.

As the military has a different punishment and reward system than civilian court, if convicted, Agus can either be discharged from the Army or be punished with administration sanctions.

Reading the indictment, prosecutor Maj. Bambang said Agus, the oldest son of former Army chief Gen. Subagyo Hadisiswoyo, had known witness Donny Hendrian since early 1999.

Prosecutor Ferry Mupahir demanded in a separate hearing the West Jakarta District Court sentence Donny to 13 years in jail.

Bambang said Donny checked into a hotel in West Jakarta on Aug. 6., and invited Agus on the following day to celebrate Agus' birthday, which fell on Aug. 6, at the hotel.

The defendant and Donny spent a night in a room at the hotel, smoking, chatting and watching television, and also "inhaling psychotropic substances", he said.

Around 2 a.m, Second. Lt. Saleh Pattimura from the West Jakarta Police knocked on the door and proceeded to question both men.

The police officer suspected them of wrongdoing after observing their behavior. He then searched them for drugs.

"The officer confiscated two small plastic bags of shabu-shabu (crystal methamphetamine) and one small plastic bag of marijuana packed in a match box, from Agus' pants," said Bambang.

In the hotel room, the police also confiscated 1.6 kilograms of shabu-shabu, 6,218 ecstasy pills, 27.9 grams of heroin and 25 sachets of Valium pills, one calculator, matches and paraphernalia in a big bag, the prosecutor said.

Presiding judge Col. Sarman Mulyana asked Agus whether he objected to the indictment.

Agus looked a bit confused, but finally answered "Yes". After several minutes of silence, he then said he would consult his lawyers over his objection.

Judge Sarman adjourned the hearing until April 14, to hear statements from Agus' lawyers. (asa)