The youngest son of former president Soeharto, Hutomo Mandala Putra, won a lawsuit against the country’s flagship carrier PT Garuda Indonesia at South Jakarta District Court on Tuesday.
The man also known as Tommy Soeharto filed the lawsuit against Garuda in September of 2010 over a news article titled “A New Destination to Enjoy in Bali” in the December 2009 edition of Garuda, the company’s monthly in-flight magazine. A footnote to the article said that Tommy was a convicted murderer.
“The statement in Garuda is seen as unlawful conduct as it was an unfounded accusation,” presiding judge Tahsin said Tuesday while reading the verdict, as reported by tempointeraktif.com.
The defendants in the case included Garuda chief editor Taufik Darusman, Garuda editor Sari Widiati, Garuda Indonesia vice president of corporate communications Pujobroto, senior officer at Garuda Indonesia’s marketing communication and promotion division Prasetyo Budi and magazine publisher PT Indo Multi Media.
They were charged under articles concerning unlawful conduct and employer responsibility over employee wrongdoing in the Civil Code and will have to pay Rp 12.51 billion ( US$1.46 million ) to Tommy for material and immaterial damages.
“The court also orders the defendants to make a public apology, which should be published on
a whole page in three editions of
Garuda,” Tahsin said.
This verdict was significantly lower than Tommy’s initial demand of Rp 25 billion as well as a public apology in three national-scale publications.
Garuda Indonesia’s lawyer, Eri Hertiawan, said that there are numerous faults in the implementation of law during the trial.
“We will hold a meeting with the management of Garuda Indonesia [on Wednesday evening] to decide whether or not to launch an appeal,” Eri told The Jakarta Post on Monday.
“Not all evidence are considered by the panel of judges in creating their verdict,” he said.
According to Eri, the wordings that stated Tommy as a murderer didn’t exist in the original, Indonesian version of the article.
“The statement was added by Ted Thornton who translated the article into English before its publication in the magazine,” he added.
Tommy’s lawyer, Ferry Firman Nurwahyu, said he was satisfied with the verdict.
“I think the verdict is enough. The important thing is that the defendants were proven guilty and are willing to apologize,” Ferry said as quoted by tempointeraktif.com.
Tommy Soeharto was sentenced to 15 years in prison in July 2002 after he was found guilty of hiring two hit men to kill Supreme Court Justice Syafiudin Kartasasmita, who was assassinated while he was on his way to work. He was freed from prison in 2006 after receiving five reductions of his original sentence. ( mim )