A recent court ruling favoring graft convict Agusrin Maryono Najamuddin over President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has led to a public spat between Agusrin’s lawyer, former minister Yusril Ihza Mahendra and Deputy Law and Human Rights Minister Denny Indrayana.
Yudhoyono fired Agusrin from his post as Bengkulu governor after the Supreme Court sentenced him in January to four years in prison for graft. Agusrin had earlier been acquitted by the Central Jakarta District Court.
Agusrin, a Democratic Party politician, however, filed a lawsuit to challenge Yudhoyono’s decision to dismiss him.
The Jakarta State Administrative Court (PTUN) ruled on Monday last week in favor of Agusrin. The ruling, which was issued only hours before his replacement, Junaidi Hamsyah, was sworn in, ordered the government not to appoint anyone to the Bengkulu governorship until the case was settled.
Yudhoyono invited Yusril to his private residence in Cikeas three days after the ruling. Yusril claimed the meeting was to discuss the PTUN ruling.
Denny blasted the PTUN ruling on Agusrin. On Saturday, he wrote in Kompas daily saying that the lawsuit and the Agusrin victory was unlawful because Agusrin was notified by the court only through a telephone call. Yusril said that his client had followed the proper court procedures.
“In a very urgent situation, the notification process can be done immediately without a written document. Denny’s statement shows that he does not understand the legal proceedings,” he added.
Denny rebutted Yusril’s statement, but said in a press release that the PTUN ruling must be respected as a court decision.
He disagreed, however, with Yusril’s move in filing the suit with the administrative court, saying that it was “without a doubt a misstep.”
“Using arguments that he is waiting for his case review to justify the lawsuit against the dismissal is definitely wrong,” Denny said on Saturday. “Case review [PK] does not suspend the prosecution against Agusrin. A Supreme Court ruling is a legally binding final judgment. Therefore, Agusrin’s dismissal is legitimate.”
Agusrin has filed a case review, which is an extraordinary legal effort against his graft conviction. A case review can only be filed if new evidence that has never been presented before other judges has been found. Agusrin used four new items of evidence in his case review request.
There are allegations that Denny only filed the lawsuit in an effort “to maintain Agusrin’s position as governor of Bengkulu”, although he was already found guilty of corruption by the appellate panel.
He said he was concerned that the PTUN ruling “could be used as a legal precedent by other local leaders convicted of graft to fight back”.
“We must not condone this, as it is extremely damaging to the country’s fight against corruption,” he said.
The sparring between the two politicians’ continued over Twitter on Saturday morning. Both mocked each other without mentioning the other’s Twitter accounts.