Sat, 27 Sep 2003

Probe into alleged STPDN drug cases begins

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Police have begun investigating drug-related incidents allegedly involving several senior students of the Public Administration Institute (STPDN) in Sumedang, West Java, delivering a second blow to the school run by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The institute recently made headlines when the death of a student, Wahyu Hidayat, exposed the culture of violent hazing at the school. Public outrage at the abuse was further fueled when private station SCTV aired video footage of student beatings during initiation in June, which prompted calls for the school's closure.

Sumedang Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Yoyok Subagiono said the police would bring to light all drug cases and unravel the institute's drug ring.

"We will solve all drug cases implicating STPDN students, as well as any other criminal cases at the school," Yoyok was quoted by Antara as saying.

Yoyok said the alleged drug abuse that went on at the school indicated the institute's administrators had failed to exercise any control or supervision over its students.

Nina Karlina, the mother of STPDN student Nunu Karsa Nugraha, 19, said her son was constantly harassed, bullied and beaten by his seniors after he caught them taking drugs in a student dormitory.

Nunu eventually withdrew from the institute because of the bullying, she said.

STPDN lecturer Inu Kencana Syafi'i -- who has been accused of leaking the violent footage to private television SCTV -- had reported that drugs were being dealt at the institute, which is reputed for its military-style discipline.

Inu said he believed that school officials knew about the drug dealing, and had questioned at least 11 students in connection with drugs. The eleven students told STPDN authorities that they had gotten the drugs from Dadang and Bone from outside the school, he said.

Reports on the cases had been filed with the school's senate, but the guilty students were spared any disciplinary measures and remained free to attend classes, Inu said.

The outspoken lecturer has received anonymous death threats, and is currently under police protection.

Separately, Minister of Home Affairs Hari Sabarno denied on Friday that his ministry had filed a legal complaint against SCTV for broadcasting the footage.

"It is not a complaint or reprimand. What is true is that we have filed a report with the Indonesian Press Council to remind the media that it should embrace a code of ethics and a proper standard of journalism when broadcasting news," he told journalists in Jakarta.

Hari said his ministry only wanted a balanced coverage of the STPDN issue. "We don't want the press to overexaggerate the bad things that have happened at STPDN," he said.

Still, the minister accused SCTV of exploiting the footage with repeated broadcasts to boost its ratings.

"It ran the video over and over. For what reason?" he said.