Wed, 15 Mar 2000

Police no show in Petrus lawsuit

JAKARTA (JP): Two city police detectives failed to appear on Tuesday for the opening session of their trial for the alleged wrongful arrest of a lawyer last December.

Their absence immediately raised complaints from lawyer Petrus Bala Pattyona, who filed the lawsuit, and his fellow colleagues.

None of the two officers' lawyers or those representing the Jakarta Police appeared in court.

"Their absence proves that they only dared to arrest me but were afraid to be held responsible for their actions," he told reporters after the session at the South Jakarta District Court, which was presided over by Judge I Gde Putra Yadnya.

The suit named Jakarta Police as the first defendant, followed by chief of city police detectives Col. Alex Bambang Riatmodjo and chief of the general section of police detectives Lt. Col. Syahrul Mamma, as second and third defendant respectively.

City police spokesman Lt. Col. Zainuri Lubis was not available for comment.

Petrus added: "As a law enforcer who understands the law very well, they should have come to the district court, or at least made sure their lawyers were present."

Several plainclothes detectives arrested Petrus on Dec. 14, shortly after the latter attended a pretrial lawsuit filed by his client Mirafsur Khan, the father of former television actress Zarina Mirafsur, who was a drug suspect at the time.

Petrus was accused of submitting a fake letter of testimony of Zarina's fellow suspect Ahian Santoso, alias Yeye, to Judge I Gde Putra Yadnya in court in early December.

The lawyer has demanded compensation of more than Rp 10 billion (US$1,351,351) for his arrest. (asa)