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Sandal Saga: Flip-flop
flap flummoxes freed 15-year-old

The suspect identified as A.A.L. has returned home after the Palu District Court sentenced the boy to time served on Wednesday for stealing a cop’s worn flip-flops. The damage, however, according to some in South Sulawesi, has already been done to the 15-year-old felon.

The boy’s lawyer, Jhon Budiman Napat, said on Thursday that A.A.L. wanted to stay home from school due to the shame he felt about the verdict.

“We fought so that A.A.L. would not be sentenced, but the court decided otherwise. Therefore, we will file a report with the Judicial Commission on Judge R.F. Tampubolon for his verdict,” Jhon said.

Zalzulimida A. Djanggola, the wife of Central Sulawesi Governor Longky Djanggola, said that Tampubolon should have considered the psychological aspects the verdict on the boy and his future.

“We can imagine how A.A.L. might isolate himself from his peers and lose confidence because everybody knows he was declared guilty by the court,” she said.

National Child Protection Commission member Sofyan Farid Lembah agreed, saying he was disappointed with the verdict. “The judge did not follow the process and procedures of this case, which did not go through the police’s women’s and children’s division,” he said.

Separately, Tampubolon defended the verdict, saying he followed all required procedures before issuing his verdict. “A.A.L. also admitted his wrong-doing. I made my verdict based on proper considerations.”

Some Palu residents, however, did not accept the judge’s statement. One person said he would organize a movement to ban Tampubolon from visiting coffee shops in the city.

In Ruteng, East Nusa Tenggara, lawmaker Benny K. Harman of House Commission III overseeing legal affairs compared AAL’s verdict to the lenient sentences levied on corruptors, some of who have been imprisoned for less than a year for causing state losses.

Benny said that Commission III would summon the National Police to explain the case.

Markus Makur contributed reporting from Ruteng

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