Former antigraft chief Antasari Azhar has entered a plea of not guilty in his trial for the murder of business executive Nasruddin Zulkarnaen, sticking to his claim that he was being set up.
“Under my leadership, the KPK [Corruption Eradication Commission] had successfully jailed many legislators, government officials and prominent figures in various graft cases,” Antasari read out Thursday from his prepared defense at the South Jakarta District Court.
“There is no doubt there were certain parties riled by this, who wanted to undermine our fight against corruption.”
Nasruddin, a director at state pharmaceutical company PT Putra Rajawali Banjaran, was killed in March last year in a drive-by shooting outside the Modernland golf course in Tangerang, Banten.
Police and prosecutors allege the murder was masterminded by Antasari, with former South Jakarta Police chief Sr. Comr. Williardi Wizard and businessman Jerry Hermawan Lo recruiting the hitmen and media mogul Sigid Haryo Wibisono providing the money.
In their indictment, prosecutors said a love triangle involving Nasruddin, Antasari and Rhani Juliani, the victim’s third wife, had triggered the murder.
At hearings last week, prosecutors sought a 15-year prison sentence for Jerry and the death penalty for Sigid, Williardi and Antasari.
Antasari’s lawyers, however, said the request was baseless, as the evidence and testimonies presented at the trial were “more than enough” to prove it was all a conspiracy hatched against the KPK by the police and the Attorney General’s Office.
“Why did the attorney general announce Antasari’s implication in the murder days before the police began questioning him?” defense lawyer Mohammad Assegaf told the court.
The defense also called the police’s role in the trial “excessive”.
“The police investigators, for instance, hid key witness Rhani Juliani away for a long time, and then she suddenly appeared and accused Antasari of sexually harassing her,” Assegaf said.
“So it’s very clear that there was a concerted effort to depose the defendant as head of the antigraft commission.”
At Williardi’s trial the same day, the defense entered a plea of not guilty for their client, saying he had only ordered the alleged hitmen to spy on the victim.
Defense lawyer Santrawan Paparangi said Williardi had recruited them after Sigid, a friend, had sought his help to find people to tail Nasruddin, a man he said was “a danger to the nation”.
“Williardi then passed on the request to Jerry, but never said anything about killing Nasruddin,” Santrawan told the court.