Anand Krishna: (Kompas/Roderick Adrian Mozes)
Spiritual guru Anand Krishna, who was recently found guilty of sexual abuse charges by the Supreme Court, said Friday that he was ready to file a case review.
Prashant Gangtani, Anand Krishna’s son and spokesman, said the Supreme Court had ignored the facts and evidence during the sessions, which went on for more than one year.
“The Supreme Court was unprofessional when it overturned the South Jakarta District Court’s not-guilty verdict. We will strive for a case review,” Prashant said.
Prashant said the latest ruling contradicted the Supreme Court’s previous decision in the case.
Previously, the Supreme Court had removed Hari Sasangka, the presiding judge in Anand’s trial, following allegations that he had a relationship with one of the witnesses.
Respected judge Albertina Ho replaced Hari and presided during the rest of the hearings. Albertina acquitted the spiritual guru of all charges in November last year, saying that there was insufficient evidence and a lack of witnesses to sentence Anand to the two-and-a-half years in prison sought by prosecutors.
Prosecutor Martha Berliana Tobing objected to the verdict and filed an appeal with the Supreme Court. Three justices, Zaharuddin Utama, Achmad Yamanie and Sofyan Sitompu, granted the prosecutor’s appeal on July 24.
“The Supreme Court replaced the presiding judge with someone they thought better and more impartial. Now, they have overturned the judge’s verdict of not guilty. For us, this is too suspicious,” Prashant said.
Supreme Court spokesman, Ridwan Mansyur, said Anand should immediately serve the 2.5 years’ prison term as originally sought by the prosecutors.
“The ruling is legal and binding,” he said as quoted by kompas.com.
Ridwan said the three judges had found Anand guilty of violating Criminal Code Articles 290 and 294 on sexual harassment. Anand was convicted for making sexual advances toward Tara Pradipta Laksmi, one of his followers, in 2009.
Tara filed her accusation with police in February 2010 and the first trial against Anand took place six months later. (riz/lfr)