Afriyani apologizes, pleads not guilty to murder charges
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Afriyani Susanti, who has been charged with murder for driving under the influence of drugs which led to the death of nine pedestrians, told the Central Jakarta District Court on Wednesday that the fatal crash in Gambir in Central Jakarta early this year was an accident, and that she had no intention to kill anyone.
In her last defense statement, the 29-year-old woman pleaded guilty to DUI charges, and asked for forgiveness from the family members of the victims of the crash, which also resulted in injuries to four other people. The defendant made it clear that she had no intention of taking anyone’s life.
“I’m not a cold-blooded monster with no feelings. I admit that I’m guilty of the accident and I’ll carry out the repercussions,” Afriyani, who appeared to be emotional, said as quoted by kompas.com. “I won’t try to evade punishment, but I’ll keep fighting for forgiveness.”
The prosecutors are seeking the harshest punishment for Afriyani, asking the court in a hearing last week to sentence her to 20 years’ in jail.
The prosecutors initially charged Afriyani with manslaughter, but then changed it to murder, amid pressure from families of the victims and the public that she be given the harshest punishment. She was also charged with reckless and fatal driving as stipulated under the 2009 Traffic Law, which could imprison her for a maximum of 12 years.
Afriyani’s lawyer, Efrizal, called on the bench to impose a lighter sentence on his client, arguing that the killing was not deliberate. Efrizal said Afriyani should have been charged with manslaughter, which carries a maximum punishment of five years’ jail. “We object to all of the prosecutors’ demands. The article can only be used when there is an intention behind the murder,” he said.
The lead prosecutor Soimah, however, said during last week’s trial, that Afriyani could be charged with murder as she was aware that she was driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. For that reason, Afriyani’s reckless behavior can be categorized as “intentional”, since she must have been aware of the consequences, according to Soimah.
The trial ended in commotion between the family members of the victims and the defendant, right after presiding Judge Antonius Widyanto decided to adjourn the trial until next Monday in order for the judges to respond to the defendant’s plea.
“The bottom line is we won’t forgive [her]. Lives must be repaid with lives,” Maria, one of the victim’s family members, said.
The last time someone was sent to jail for murder prompted by reckless driving was in 1994, when a Metromini bus driver caused the death of 33 people after his vehicle plunged into the polluted Sunter River in North Jakarta. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment. (han)
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