High Court Slams Release of Irzen Octa’s Debt Collectors With Appeals Pending
All three debt collectors convicted last month of unpleasant conduct in the death of a politician were freed over the weekend, but the court hearing the prosecutors’ appeal for a longer sentence has denounced the release.
Arief Gunawan, the chief warden at Cipinang Penitentiary, said on Sunday that Arif Lukman, Henry Waslinton and Donald Haris were released on Friday after being held in remand there for one year — the sentence the South Jakarta District Court had ordered them to serve in early March, after they had already spent 11 months in custody.
“We had to release them last Friday because according to procedure we cannot hold them a day longer,” Arief said.
He added that his office had also notified prosecutors and the Jakarta High Court about the release 10 days earlier. Prosecutors are currently filing an appeal with the court against the sentences, having initially sought seven years for the three men for their role in the death of Irzen Octa at a Citibank office in Jakarta on March 29 last year.
However, the High Court slammed the release, saying that it had not authorized any move to free the men pending the appeal.
“Judge Yusran Thawab, who is hearing the appeal, has not given any such permission,” court spokesman Achmad Sobari said on Sunday, adding that during this process, the men should have been in detention until May 21.
“We’re going to seek clarification on Monday about this release, because the only thing that’s clear right now is that the appeal is still being heard and no final decision has been made.”
Arif, Henry and Donald were convicted of unpleasant conduct in preventing Irzen from leaving the Citibank office by confiscating his identity card. Although all three were sentenced to a year in prison, Donald was not freed on Friday but instead handed to the South Jakarta Police as a suspect in a separate case.
Luthfie Hakim, a lawyer for the collectors, said Donald was finally freed on Saturday.
Two other debt collectors, Boy Yanto Tambunan and Humisar Silalahi, who were alleged to have picked up Irzen at his home to discuss his outstanding credit card debt of Rp 100 million ($10,900), were found not guilty. Prosecutors had sought five years for the pair, and are now mounting an appeal against their acquittal.
The court ruled that Irzen had died from a ruptured blood vessel in the brain caused by chronic hypertension, referring to an autopsy carried out a few hours after Irzen’s death, and not because of any physical assault by the collectors.
Ade Firmansyah Sugiharto, the coroner who carried out the first autopsy, testified in February that Irzen had a history of hypertension, and that this condition was aggravated by the interrogation. However, an independent autopsy carried out three weeks later at the request of the family by Mun’im Idris, the country’s leading coroner, indicated that the victim had been assaulted. The court rejected the outcome of the second autopsy.