Fri, 18 Aug 2000

Two taxi rapists sentenced to 14 years and 13 years

JAKARTA (JP): Rusdi bin Busri, 25, and Arkomi, alias Komeng, 30, stared at the floor when judges respectively handed down a 14-year jail term and a 13-year jail term for a vicious robbery and rape of a 23-year-old woman in a taxi last January.

"Rusdi bin Busri is guilty of violating Article 365 of the Criminal Code on robbery and Article 285 on rape," presiding judge Munawir said in a hearing at the South Jakarta District Court.

In a separate hearing, presiding judge Rusmandani applied the same articles to Komeng.

Before sentencing Rusdi, judge Munawir told the hearing that the convicted man had destroyed the future of a young woman and caused her lifelong mental trauma.

"He is a worrisome factor for society and women today. He has endangered the sanity of his victim and has destroyed her future," Munawir told the hearing.

"He also took another man with him to join him in the heinous acts. His only relieving factors were that he was honest in court and has never had legal hassles before."

Meanwhile, judge Rusmandani told the hearing that Komeng had instilled "lifelong fear in the victim".

"You agreed to participate in an act which will instill terror in the woman for the rest of her life," Rusmandani said.

The hearing was proceeded by a rally by woman activists carrying antirape posters and banners, some of which read: "Stop Rape! Rape is a cursed and amoral act!" and "Rape destroys a life and a future!"

Some of the activists carried orchids and were allowed to attend the hearing.

Both sentences were lighter than the 16-year jail term sought for each defendant by prosecutor Maria Ulfa last week.

Rusdi, the taxi driver, and Komeng, were found guilty of raping Ruth (not her real name), after hiding in the trunk of a Koperasi taxi.

Ruth hailed the taxi on Jl. Melawai, South Jakarta, at about 8 p.m. on Jan. 21, and asked to be taken to her home in Permata Hijau in South Jakarta.

But she was instead driven around for hours before Rusdi and Komeng brought her to an empty football field in the Bojong area of West Jakarta, where the taxi came to a stop.

Rusdi was the first to rape her. She fell into unconsciousness and was raped by Komeng. Rusdi then raped her a third time.

When Ruth was unconscious, Rusdi and Komeng rifled through her purse and stole three ATM cards, from Citibank, BCA and Bank Lippo, a Nokia 5110 cell phone, Rp 150,000 (US$16) and $70 in cash.

After withdrawing $200 from an ATM in Pondok Indah Mall, the victim was gagged and bound before being thrown onto the side of a road in Karang Tengah in Lebak Bulus, South Jakarta. They gave her some money to get home.

Police first arrested Iwan bin Abdul Manan, 34, a friend of Rusdi's who allegedly helped the two withdraw money from Ruth's bank account.

"They got hold of Iwan, got the personal identification number (PIN) of Ruth's Citibank ATM card, gave it and the card to Iwan, who withdrew $200 from a Pondok Indah Citibank ATM," a police source said.

Iwan confessed that of the $200, he put $100 in his pocket. He handed the remaining bill to Rusdi, who gave Iwan Rp 100,000 for helping with the "ATM headache".

Police also arrested Suhadi, 44, the original taxi driver who, police detectives said, leased the taxi to Rusdi. (ylt)