A teenager facing up to five years in prison for stealing a police officer’s sandals is receiving support from the Indonesian Commission for Child Protection, which is raising money to buy the officer 1,000 new pairs.
The teenager, a 15-year-old high school student from Palu, Central Sulawesi, identified only as AAL, is on trial for stealing a pair of sandals, said to be worth about Rp 30,000 ($3.30), from a Mobile Brigade (Brimob) police officer.
“This is an excessive action by the Brimob officer whose sandals were allegedly taken by AAL. It’s overreacting,” said M. Ihsan, secretary general of the commission, also known as the KPAI.
“We sympathize and we’re ready to pay for a new pair of sandals to replace the ones that were taken,” he added.
The KPAI is opening a special post in Jakarta to accept donations to buy the new sandals.
Ihsan said the police should focus on restorative justice for young offenders instead of treating them with punitive justice, as they do with adult offenders.
In fact, he said, the National Police have even issued a circular on the need to prioritize restorative justice for minors.
“The parents should have been summoned and told exactly what happened,” Ihsan said. “If there was any material loss, it should be paid back.”
He said that AAL’s parents had reported First Brig. Ahmad Rusdi Harahap, the Brimob officer who reported the minor, to his police unit because they say he beat up their child during questioning.
“He [Rusdi] was punished and it appears as if he wanted to get revenge by taking this [sandal theft] case to court,” Ihsan said.
Rusdi and a colleague, First Brig. Simson J. Sipayung, were both detained for beating up AAL after the theft, which took place in November 2010. Rusdi received seven days of detention while Simson was given 21 days, and both were punished with a one-year freeze on promotion.
Ihsan said that similar fund-raising posts would be set up in other cities including Medan, Bandung, Surabaya, Solo, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi.
“The target is to raise enough money to buy 1,000 pairs of sandals and hand them over to the National Police chief,” Ihsan said. “We hope to send the sandals to him as a New Year’s gift.”