INDONESIA: Jakarta court’s conviction on two street singers is a miscarriage of justice

Johanes Gea of the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta) informed the AHRC that the South Jakarta District Court sentenced Andro Supriyanto and Nurdin Prianto to seven years of imprisonment on 17 January, 2014. A panel of judges – consisting of judges Soehartono, Syamsul Edy and Suwanto – declared Andro and Nurdin guilty of murder under Article 338 in conjunction with Article 55 (1) of the Penal Code. As previously reported in AHRC-UAC-124-2013, Andro and Nurdin are two of six street singers who were arrested and tortured by officers of the Jakarta Metropolitan Police. The officers were reported to have used force to get them to confess to the murder of Dicky Maulana. Earlier in December 2013, the other four street singers – who are minors – were convicted on the same account and sentenced to three to four years of imprisonment by the juvenile court in South Jakarta.
LBH Jakarta noted several irregularities in the trial and the reasoning of the judges in reaching their judgment in this case. The panel of judges relied heavily on the witnesses’ and suspects’ verbal statements to the police in concluding their judgment, contrary to Article 185 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Such article establishes that statements of witnesses which shall be counted as evidence are only those delivered before the court of law.
In their verbal statements to the police, Andro, Nurdin and the other four street singers – AP, F, FP and BF – ‘confessed’ that they were responsible for Dicky’s death. However, all of them retracted their verbal statements before the court, claiming that such confession was made under torture, threats and coercion by the police. The lawyer of the accused from LBH Jakarta later requested the judges to summon 19 police officers in charge for the arrest of the clients for further examination. The judges, however, only summoned two officers who were not involved in the torture of Andro, Nurdin, AP, F, FP and BF. The judges eventually dismissed the torture claim citing the reason that the accused could not point out which of the two summoned police officers was responsible for the abuse.
During the trial, the judges have also heard the testimony of IP, a witness who claimed to be one of the three persons actually responsible for the death of Dicky Maulana. Before the court, IP testified that he and his two friends named Brengos (also known as Khairudin Hamzah) and Jubai (also known as Jubaidi) killed Dicky at around 2.30 a.m. on 30 June 2013. IP testified that he saw Dicky was taken by Brengos and Jubai to the space under a bridge in Cipulir. He also heard Dicky’s scream and saw that Brengos and Jubai left the bridge without Dicky. They later sold the victim’s motorbike and divided the money between three of them.
IP’s testimony was supported by the statement from another witness, UW, who saw Dicky with Brengos and Junaidi in the early morning of 30 June 2013. In a hospital on the same day, UW met Brengos whose hand was wounded. IP explained to the judges that Brengos got the wound when he was attacking Dicky earlier in the morning.
IP told the judges that his role in the murder was to make sure that the area around the bridge was cleared and safe. Under Article 55 of the Indonesian Penal Code, therefore, he might be classified as an accomplice. However, the judges ignored IP’s testimony. Despite IP’s detailed account on the crime, the judges claimed his testimony was unreliable, as it was only based on his conversation with Brengos and Jubai who were drunk at that time.
Apart from ignoring a substantial amount of testimony by the witnesses, the panel of judges in this case failed to take into consideration the testimony of a forensic expert whose statement is in favour of the accused and in congruence with the information provided by IP before the court. According to the expert, with the wounds he was suffering from, Dicky could have survived for approximately eight hours after he was attacked. As his time of death was at around 1 p.m., it is more likely that he was attacked at around 2 a.m. than at 9 a.m. as claimed by the prosecutor. Yet the judges decided to believe more in the prosecutor’s claim than the expert’s.
The time of the attack on Dicky was an important disputed fact during the trial, as the two accused have the alibi of being outside Jakarta at around 2 am on 30 June 2013.
The prosecutor argued that the accused felt threatened by Dicky Maulana whom they claimed was a new street singer in the area. This argument, however, was implausible as the parents of Dicky themselves have testified before the court that their son was not a street singer. Yet, again, the judges dismissed the claim made by the victim’s parents, and agreed with the implausible argument delivered by the prosecutor.
As previously narrated in AHRC-UAU-034-2013, the trial of four minors accused of jointly murdering Dicky Maulana with Andro and Nurdin has been concluded. LBH Jakarta reported that several witnesses who earlier testified for the minors before the juvenile court had declined to testify in the trial of Andro and Nurdin. Their testimonies in this case are significant as – along with UW – they witnessed Dicky was with Brengos, Jubai and IP in the early morning of 30 June 2013. The legal aid organisation suspected that those witnesses had declined to testify in the trial of Nurdin and Andro as they had been threatened and intimidated by police officers.
The judges’ failure to take into consideration the testimonies of key witnesses, their tendency to be heavily in favour of the police and the prosecutor’s claims, as well as their wilful blindness on the tortured allegation raised by the accused, have led to the AHRC’s allegation that Nurdin and Andro’s conviction is a case of miscarriage of justice.
LBH Jakarta has submitted an appeal to Jakarta High Court and reported the judges who examined Nurdin and Andro’s case to the Judicial Commission.
Please write to the listed authorities below, asking them to investigate the allegation of torture against Nurdin, Andro and the other four street singers (AP, F, FP and BF). Please urge the police to also conduct an investigation against Brengos, Jubaidi and IP, three persons who are suspected to be responsible for the death of Dicky Maulana. Both investigations shall be conducted effectively and impartially that those who are responsible for the abuse and the crime will be sentenced proportionately.
Given the irregularities in the criminal proceeding and the judgment against Nurdin and Andro, judges of South Jakarta District Court who examined the case should also be investigated, to ensure that their independence has not been compromised in this case.
The AHRC is writing separately to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture as well as the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, asking for their intervention in this matter.