FPI Protests ‘Lenient’ Sentence Demand in Murder Trial
Bogor. Hundreds of members of the hard-line Islamic Defenders Front rallied in front of the Bogor District Court on Monday to protest what they said was a lenient prison sentence sought for a teenager accused of killing one of the group’s members.
“The sentence sought was right because it takes into consideration that the defendant is still under age so he can only serve three and a half years of the maximum seven years in prison,” lead prosecutor Pungki Hapsari said after the court session.
The 17-year-old defendant is accused of murdering Mustofa, a member of the hard-line group, known as the FPI, with a machete in South Bogor on May 7.
He maintains that he acted in self-defense after Mustofa and other FPI members attacked him and his friends. The court had earlier planned to hold the trial behind closed doors because the suspect is a minor, but the FPI stormed the building and demanded an open court.
On Monday, the FPI again tried to intervene in the trial, shouting and disrupting proceedings as the prosecutors made their sentence request.
“Why did the prosecutors only charge the defendant under one article? They could also charge him with premeditated murder and under the Emergency Law on carrying sharp weapons,” FPI lawyer Ichwan Tuankotta said.
After the trial was adjourned, the FPI staged a rally in front of the prosecutors’ office demanding an official explanation from district prosecutor Ghazali Hadari.
Bogor Police’s chief of detectives, Adj. Comr. Iman Imanudin, said the police could only charge the suspect under Article 351 of the Criminal Code on non-premeditated murder, because the suspect and Mustofa had not known each other.
“That would make premeditated murder charges very weak,” he said. “And the Emergency Law can only apply if a perpetrator is caught red-handed with a knife.”
The accused allegedly disposed of the murder weapon after stabbing Mustofa, the police said. But the police’s explanations did little to appease the hard-liners. “We no longer trust Bogor’s judiciary,” Ichwan said.