Fri, 28 Mar 2003

'Rakyat Merdeka' suit continues

JAKARTA: The South Jakarta district court decided that there was enough grounds to proceed with the lawsuit filed by Golkar chairman Akbar Tandjung against Rakyat Merdeka daily's chief editor Karim Paputungan for defamation.

Akbar, who was recently found guilty and given three years for corruption by the Central Jakarta district court, sued Karim for publishing a caricature featuring a shirtless Akbar with a glaring heading: "Akbar is doomed, Golkar cries" early last year.

Presiding judge Asnawati said on Thursday that a preliminary trial had rejected Karim's defense that the caricature did not mean to insult Akbar, who is also the House Speaker.

Bachtiar Sitanggang, Karim's lawyer, denied the defamation charge, saying that there was no statement or sentence in the caricature that could be taken as defamation.

The trial was adjourned until next month to hear to the testimonies of Akbar and other witnesses.

Defamation carries a maximum jail sentence of one year and four months. --JP