The Kayuagung District Court in Ogan Komering Ilir (OKI) regency, South Sumatra, sentenced five convicted killers in the Sungai Sodong incident to between eight and 10 years in prison on Wednesday.
“The defendants have caused restlessness in the community. They have committed sadistic murders that took the lives of Syaktu Macan and Indra Syafei,” presiding judge Khusaini said as he read out the sentences.
The sentences were lighter than those demanded by the prosecution, which wanted between 12 and 14 years for the defendants, who were all members of the private civilian security forces (known as Pam Swakarsa) of PT Sumber Wangi Alam (SWA).
A 10-year sentence was given to Heri Supriansyah, 26. He received the heaviest sentence of the five defendants because he was convicted of slitting the neck of Indra at the plantation of PT SWA on April 21, 2011.
The other four defendants received eight years for participating in the killing of Indra and Syaktu. The other four convicts were Muhammad Idrus, 23, of Kampung I Sungai Pinang, Banyuasin; Supriyanto, 22, of Plaju Ulu Darat, Palembang; Muhammad Ridwan, 28, also of Plaju and Tarjo, 26, of Rambutan, Banyuasin.
“It was revealed that the five killed Syaktu Macan and Indra Syafei who came to the plantation to claim their fields,” said the judges, adding that the defendants were convicted of having violated articles 338 and 55 of the Criminal Code.
The panel of judges said that the five defendants and eight other perpetrators, namely Sarji, Rusli, Butet, Bruno, Yudi Andika, Toyib, Jalil and Yunus, who were currently still at large, went to the plantation, which was occupied by local residents at that time.
Indra tried to block the defendants and the other Pam Swakarsa members to deter them from not taking over the land because the field was still in a position of status quo. The warning was responded to with beatings, stabbings and shootings, with Heri slitting Indra’s throat.
It was at that time that Syaktu passed by and pursued the perpetrators. He was outnumbered and killed.
Responding to the sentence, prosecutors Agung and Imam Hidayat said they would consider it. The convicts, on the other hand, said they would consult with their legal teams.
The Sungai Sodong incident came under the media spotlight after Maj. Gen. (ret.) Saurip Kadi led a delegation of local residents to the House of Representatives’ Commission III on legal affairs and laws, human rights and security, showing lawmakers a purported video of killings in the area.
The killings created tension in Mesuji, with Sungai Sodong residents running amok at the local PT SWA office, located only some 4 to 5 kilometers from Sungai Sodong.
Five of the company’s employees were killed during the clash. They were foreman assistant Hambali, 43, Ardi, 46, Haris Fadillah, 23, Akbar and another employee whose identity was not known.