13 October 2009

Syekh Puji Goes To Trial (and gets acquitted)...

Syekh Puji went to trial in the Ungaran District Court charged with committing sexual abuse on a child. The sexual abuse charges stem from his marriage to an underage girl. I have written about this case elsewhere, and you can find those posts here.

In essence, the Syekh was facing charges relating to violations of Articles 81(2) and 82 of the Child Protection Law and Article 290 of the Indonesian Criminal Code. I also believe that there are charges relating to a violation of the Marriage Law. I have not seen the indictment or read the verdict dismissing the case.

However, the presiding judge in the trial, Hari Mulyanto, dismissed the prosecution case because, in his opinion, the indictment was incomplete, vague, and by default, flawed. Consequently, Mulyanto ordered that the Syekh was free to go and resume his life free of the charges laid. In that sense it is not really an acquittal, because in a technical sense the judge has issued a preliminary ruling stating that the case cannot go forward to trial because the indictment does not make the grade.

Prosecutors, apparently, intend to appeal the verdict. But, what is interesting was that the prosecution seemed to indicate that they will go away and improve the indictment. This suggests that the first time out the prosecutors did not bother to cross all the "t"s and dot all the "i"s.

Appeals in Indonesia generally require that there be new evidence available that was not available at the time of the trial or that there has been an error by the judge(s) in the application of the law. Unfortunately, prosecutors failing to do their jobs is not new evidence or an error in the application of the law.

There seems to be little doubt that the Syekh married an underage girl, and there seems little doubt that he consummated that marriage after her first period, what seems to be in doubt is the ability of the prosecutors to close the deal on this case.


Anonymous said...

It is interesting that as of 23.00 (13th Oct) the story has been pulled from both The Jakarta Globe and The Jakarta Post: one wonders why exactly?
It is disgusting that this rich man seems to have got away with this disgusting crime. It is a sad story also to see exactly how low Indonesia has sunk. It has more or less endorsed paedophilia. As usual Indonesian law enforcement has lived up to its well deserved reputation of being completely corrupt: police, prosecutes, judges, all completely and totally corrupt. A sad day for Indonesian people. I am sorry but I have to publish anon from inside Indonesia.

Rob Baiton said...


You are fearful of using your name on this one?

I just checked the JG they have a story on it still on their front page.

Anonymous said...

It's wise to stay anonymous in Indonesia, a country in which victims go to jail for libel or slander if they tell what happen to them.

Rob Baiton said...


If you believe that it is necessary, then I will take your word for it. I lived in Indonesia for many years and never felt the need, personally, to be anonymous.

I am sure there are arguments to and fro on this issue.

Yes, the Prita case is a prime example of how things can go wrong. I have written about that a fair bit.

H. Nizam said...

You are right that in Syeakh Puji's case it's the Prosecutors' ability to prepare correct indictment that is in doubt. I only hope that error was not done intentionally, only God knows.

As long as your words are decent and based on facts, I don't see any reason why you should be afraid to use your real name.

Rob Baiton said...


I guess that is the question that many will ask, particularly if the prosecutors do not make moves to refile.

However, I would be asking how they managed to get it wrong in the first place.

If the case has been dismissed before the trial proper even starts, can the case be retried at a later date? Or do prosecutors only get one bite of the cherry (so to speak)?

I guess, I am wondering whether the prosecutors can appeal and then submit an amended indictment?

In a procedural sense, I would figure that if the prosecutors appeal the decision of the Ungaran District Court to toss the indictment, then they would have to appeal on the indictment as it was originally submitted, right?

It would be unusual, for example, for the prosecutors to lodge an appeal, but before that appeal is heard they amend the indictment and then base the appeal arguments on the amended indictment.

If the High Court dismisses the appeal, assuming one is lodged, that would pretty much end the legal process against the Syekh on this one, wouldn't it? (they could appeal to the Supreme Court but they would be unlikely to see the SC overturn it)