4 soldiers dismissed, jailed for assisting asylum seekers
Four soldiers have been dismissed and put behind bars for helping some 250 illegal migrants pass through Tulungagung subdistrict in East Java on their way to seeking asylum in Australia.
The four members of the Indonesian Army’s community affairs personnel (Babinsa) were charged under Article 120 of the 2011 Immigration Law.
They were proven guilty of helping some 250 immigrants from the Middle East arrive at the border of Tulungagung and Trenggalek subdistricts on Dec. 17 last year.
The case emerged after the boat carrying the immigrants sank in Trenggalek waters, East Java. Of the passengers 84 were confirmed dead, 49 survived while the rest were declared missing.
Second Sgt. (Serda) Cornelis Nama was sentenced to six years' imprisonment and was ordered to pay Rp 500 million (US$9.39 million) in fines, according to presiding judge Lieut. Col. Affandi, who read out the verdict at the Madiun Military Court on Thursday.
Chief Sergeant Choirul Anama, Chief Corporal Kariadi and Chief Warrant Officer Sosiali were each sentenced to five years in prison and issued Rp 500 million fines.
Cornelis claimed them to be scapegoats in the case, given that the bus carrying the asylum seekers had not been intercepted by any officers guarding the route from Jakarta to Tulungagung.
“Policemen and other officials definitely played a role. The immigrants had no problem on their way from Jakarta, meaning that there was a syndicate helping them. We are just the victims,” he said before being taken back to his cell.
On Monday, the Military Court dismissed and sentenced the smuggling coordinator, Second Sergeant Ilmun Abdul Said, to six years in jail and Rp 500 million in fines. (yps)