Zaky Pawas & Farouk Arnaz
A reputed gang leader suspected of murder could be released before authorities can finish their investigation and the Jakarta Police say they know who to blame: the absent prosecutors who are supposed to be in charge of the case.
Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto said on Monday that they were doing everything they could to complete the investigation of John Refra Kei.
“We were supposed to discuss whether to move to prosecution or if the investigation should be prolonged but the prosecutors are not around so we are still waiting for them,” he said.
Police and prosecutors have consulted on the case at least five times, but Rikwanto said the police had been waiting for days to sit down with prosecutors again.
The delay meant the police were unable to complete their investigation before Kei’s 120-day detention was due to expire on Friday. Hours before Kei was due to be released, police transferred to Sukamto Police Hospital, extending his detention. Time spent in the hospital does not count as time served in police detention.
“[John] is not sick,” said one of Kei’s lawyers, Alam P. Simamora. “Investigators are finding excuses to keep John in custody. He should be released.”
Alam and his team of lawyers filed a complaint with the National Police on Monday. They accused the Jakarta Police of abusing their authority by keeping Kei in custody.
Rikwanto declined to comment on the complaint. He said any decision to release Kei would be made by the doctors at the hospital. “We are still waiting for a report from the medical team,” the spokesman said, adding that he could not comment on the nature of Kei’s illness.
Kei is the main suspect in the murder of the president of Sanex Steel, Tan Harry Tantono, 51, who was found dead with stab wounds to his neck and stomach at the Swiss-Belhotel in Central Jakarta on Jan. 26.