The Jakarta High Court is to deliver its verdict this week on the appeal filed by former antigraft agency chairman Antasari Azhar of his murder conviction and 18-year prison sentence, an official said on Tuesday.
“We are expecting to conclude the case against Antasari and several other suspects in the same case this week,” court spokesman Andi Samsan Nganro, who is also a judge, told the Jakarta Globe. He declined to specify the date.
Antasari, former chairman of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), was convicted in February of ordering the murder of businessman Nasrudin Zulkarnaen. Three accomplices in the case were businessman Sigid Haryo Wibisono, who was sentenced to 15 years in jail for providing money for the murder, middle-ranking policeman Wiliardi Wizar, who got 12 years for recruiting the hit men, and businessman Jerry Hermawan Lo, who got five years for introducing Wiliardi to the hit men.
“We have nothing in mind but for the High Court judges to decide based merely on the facts revealed during the hearing,” said Juniver Girsang, Antasari’s chief defense lawyer. “And we believe that when the judges refer to the court hearing only, Antasari will be acquitted of all charges. We hope the judges are free from political influence and any other interests that may disrupt justice.”
The lawyer said Antasari would challenge any verdict other than an unconditional acquittal. “For us, Antasari doesn’t deserve a singe day in jail,” he said.
Defense lawyers appealed the conviction on the belief that the judges at the South Jakarta District Court ignored many key facts that they said proved Antasari’s innocence.
For instance, a threatening cellphone text message sent to the victim before the murder in March last year was used by prosecutors as the basis of their indictment against Antasari.
But according to the defense, the district court dismissed evidence that Antasari never sent such a message.
Information-technology experts suggested to the court that such a message could have been sent by a third party using an Internet service, as prosecutors failed to prove it had come from Antasari’s phone.
The defense also said prosecutors had presented a gun of a different type from the one used in the police re-enactment of the case as their evidence.
Prosecutors, who had sought the death sentence for all four defendants, have also appealed.