Wed, 12 Sep 2001

Probation sentence sought for man tried for slander

JAKARTA (JP): Endin Wahyudin, a defendant in a defamation case against two Supreme Court justices, expressed his frustration as the prosecutor asked the Central Jakarta District Court on Tuesday to sentence him to a three-month suspended jail term with a six-month probation period.

"This country wants to combat corruption, collusion and nepotism. So how could a man like me, who has reported corruption involving justices, be put on trial?," Endin told reporters after the court was closed by Presiding Judge Amirudin Zakaria.

He said that the court was supposed to free him from all charges as it had yet to examine whether he had slandered the justices.

"I'm not the only one who tried to bribe the justices. I reported the case for the sake of the supremacy of the law. The Attorney General's Office, along with the (now defunct) Joint AntiCorruption Team (TGPTPK) had promised to protect me, but they sent me to this trial. It's just not fair," Endin said.

Prosecutor Hasan Madani said in his indictment that Endin violated Article 311 of the Criminal Code by defaming two justices, Supraptini Sutarto and Marnis Kahar, as he told the TGPTPK that he had bribed each of them with some Rp 50 million (US$5,882) to win the case of his acquaintance Sunata Sumali, which concerned a dispute over a 17,000-square-meter plot of land in Bandung, West Java, with plaintiff Aminah.

Endin, who at the time acted as a middleman, also reported another justice named Yahya Harahap, who had since retired, for receiving some Rp 96 million in bribes.

According to Endin, he came to the Attorney General's Office and met former attorney general Marzuki Darusman and chairman of TGPTPK Adi Andojo as "he wanted to help them disclose corruption cases in legal institutions."

Ironically, soon after TGPTPK revealed the corruption case to the public, Endin had to face trial as Supraptini and Marnis had filed a lawsuit with the National Police in August against him and TGPTPK chairman Adi Andojo for defamation.

Even though the court, along with West Jakarta District Court had opened the trial of Supraptini, Marnis and Yahya for allegedly receiving bribes, they later on turned down the indictments, saying that prosecutors had charged the justices under the wrong law.

"The witnesses and evidence showed that Endin failed to prove whether he, along with his friend Mesri Pasaribu, had directly handed over money to the justices, as many witnesses, including Endin himself, said that they had delivered the money through the justices' staff," Hasan told the court.

The judge adjourned the trial until Sept. 25 to hear the defense.

Meanwhile, Hendardi of the Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI) told The Jakarta Post that the trial had closed any prospect of public participation in disclosing corruption cases.

"We can see that there's just no legal guarantee for members of the public, who wish to help the government to combat corruption. The person who reported the case has now been sent to trial for another case, which is defamation and accused of being guilty," Hendardi said.

"It is even worse that justices have protected their colleagues from alleged corruption by taking advantage of a loophole in Anticorruption Law No. 3/1999 as this law doesn't recognize a retroactive principle," Hendardi said.

Hendardi said that Marzuki and Adi Andojo had failed to protect Endin as their witness and asserted that "this country's legal system does not recognize witness protection programs."

"We can't blame Pak Marzuki and Pak Adi for this. All we can do now is propose to the Supreme Court to immediately establish an independent team to probe these corruption cases," he said. (tso)