Sat, 29 Apr 2000

Witness tells court Agus not the owner of seized drugs

JAKARTA (JP): A witness testified in the drug trial of Second Lt. Agus Isrok that the defendant was not the owner of the illegal substances seized by the police from a room of a West Jakarta hotel last August.

Donny Hendrian, the key witness in the drug case, told the panel of judges at the Jakarta Military Court that he had no knowledge of Agus possessing two small plastic bags of shabu- shabu (crystal methamphetamine) and marijuana packed in a matchbox, which the police claim were seized from the pockets of Agus' trousers during an early morning raid in the hotel.

"Around 20 police officers entered our hotel room, and then frisked me and Agus during the raid. I only saw Maj. Sambudi Gusdian raise his hands, holding a packet of cigarettes and a matchbox, and ask Agus whether they were his," Donny told the military court in Pondok Kopi, East Jakarta.

The witness, who was repeatedly warned against giving conflicting information in his testimony by presiding judge Col. Sarman Mulyana, said he had no knowledge of where and from whom the police got the matchbox and the cigarettes. He also said he did not hear Agus' reply to the officer's question.

"I was being frisked by the police at the time," he said at the hearing, which started at 9:40 a.m. and ended at about 3 p.m., with a break for Friday prayers and lunch.

Friday's hearing also heard the testimonies of two police witnesses: Second Lt. Saleh Pattimura and Maj. Sambudi Gusdian.

Donny also denied knowledge of the contents of the cigarette packet and the matchbox, saying there were so many police officers in the four-by-four meter hotel room that he did not have a full view of the room.

"I only learned that the matchbox contained two small plastic bags of shabu-shabu and marijuana after the police showed me the drugs at the West Jakarta Police station hours after our arrest," he said.

Both the indictment and the police report claim the police seized the drugs from Agus during the arrest.

Agus, a member of the Army's Special Force (Kopassus), also denied being in possession of the drugs during Donny's trial at the West Jakarta District Court in February.

"It was a hotel matchbox. Right after the arrest the police showed me the matchbox, which already contained a few grams of white crystal," he said, referring to the shabu-shabu.

Donny was sentenced to nine years and six months in jail by the West Jakarta District Court earlier this month.

He has been convicted of possessing 1.6 kilograms of shabu- shabu, 6,218 ecstasy pills, 27.9 grams of heroin and 25 sachets of Valium pills, which were also seized by the police in the room rented by him.

The confiscated drugs are also stipulated in the military prosecutors' indictment, but no articles mention who owned them. (asa)