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.