Sat, 16 Dec 2000

Police defendant fails to appear in court again

YOGYAKARTA (JP): Second Adj. Insp. Edy Wuryanto, who is accused of destroying evidence, failed to appear for the second time at his trial at the Yogyakarta Military Tribunal on Thursday.

"I've just received a fax from the National Police Headquarters which says that Edy had five days off from Dec. 1 to Dec. 5 due to illness. But I don't know why he failed to show up in court today," military prosecutor Lt. Col. Roesdi HR told the hearing.

Roesdi also said he had sent a summons to Edy on Nov. 21, and the National Police Headquarters had confirmed that the defendant had received it. "Edy did not appear in court, however."

Roesdi said he had made several telephone calls to the National Police Headquarters Investigation Corps -- where Edy is stationed -- since 9 a.m., seeking an explanation to Edy's absence. "But all I got was unsatisfactory answers until the session began at about 11.00 a.m..

"I could not reach the top officer there. Only the staff and civilian employees talked to me, but they gave me unclear information," Roesdi said.

Responding to the prosecutor, presiding judge Lt. Col. Anas Chaniago said every effort must be made to bring the defendant before the tribunal.

"Otherwise, we will have to hand the case over to the Jakarta Military Tribunal, based on Law No. 31/1997," said Anas.

Prosecutor Roesdi then told the court that he would send a special report to the Military General Prosecutor's Office in Jakarta about Edy's absences. A copy of the report will be sent to the National Police chief.

"I will have to do that before sending the third summons to the defendant. In this way, we hope that we will be able to bring Edy here," said Roesdi.

Edy is accused of destroying evidence in the murder case of Fuad Muhammad Syafruddin, alias Udin. Edy was then chief of investigation at Bantul District Police in 1996.

The prosecutor said Edy had violated Article 417 of the Criminal Code on power abuse, Article 372 on stealing and Article 103 of the Military Criminal Code on excessive authority.

If convicted, the defendant may face a five-year jail term.

Udin was a reporter for the Bernas daily, based in Yogyakarta. Udin's family, with the help of a team of lawyers from the Yogyakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH), has tried since Sept. 27, 1996, to bring the case before the local military tribunal.

However, Yogyakarta Police responded in July 2000, when it ordered Edy to appear before court. To the surprise of many, Edy was moved to the National Police Headquarters in Jakarta in August. This has made it difficult for the prosecutor's office to continue legal procedures.

Edy's first trial was scheduled on Sept. 19, 2000. However, he failed to appear. The trial was canceled and rescheduled for Sept. 21, 2000. Again, Edy failed to appear in court, and the first hearing continued without the defendant present. (swa)