High profile defendant: Muhammad Rasyid Amrullah Rajasa, son of Coordinating Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa, is charged at the East Jakarta District Court on Thursday with causing the death of two people by reckless driving on Jan. 1. (JP/P.J. Leo)
M. Rasyid Amrullah Rajasa, son of Coordinating Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa, solemnly entered the East Jakarta District Court on Thursday for his first trial.
Rasyid’s mother, Oktiniwati Rajasa, and his girlfriend, Prilla Kinanti, were present in the packed court room to show their support.
Oktiniwati immediately took a seat in the front row and sat praying with beads in her hands.
Also attending the trial were soap opera actors Lucky Hakim and Hengky Kurniawan. The two actors had been enlisted as temporary legislative candidates from Hatta’s National Mandate Party (PAN), according to PAN executive Bima Arya Sugiarto.
The minister’s son faces the charge of driving recklessly in an accident that claimed two lives and injured three others on the Jakarta Inner Circle toll road in the early hours of New Year’s Day.
The trial debut of the 22-year-old London University student began with Soimah, East Jakarta’s prosecutor, indicting Rasyid for violating Law No. 22/2009 on traffic and public transportation.
“The defendant drove his car recklessly, causing an accident that led to the death of others,” she said, adding that the victims were identified as Harun, 57, and M. Raihan, 14 months.
Soimah said Rasyid, who was on his way home, drove his BMW X5 at 100 kilometers per hour (kph) on the toll road, even though the speed limit was between 60 and 80 kph.
“The defendant also drove in a state of fatigue as he had not slept following New Year’s Eve celebrations with his friends,” she said.
Soimah explained that Rasyid’s car rear-ended a Daihatsu Luxio minivan, driven by Frans Jonar Sirait, at a speed of 70 kph.
The collision caused the back door of the minivan to open and five passengers, including Harun and Raihan, were thrown in to the road, she added. Three other passengers — Supriyati, Enung and Mandala Putra — suffered minor injuries.
“The defendant is charged under Article 310 of the Traffic and Transportation Law on reckless driving that caused fatalities,” Soimah said.
The article carries a maximum sentence of six years imprisonment.
Rasyid, who remains out of detention, is also charged with subsidiary articles on reckless driving causing serious and minor injuries of others.
Rasyid’s lawyer Riri Purbasari Dewi said after the trial that she objected to the charges and claimed her client was also a victim in the accident.
Riri also strongly rejected suggestions by the public that the charges against Rasyid were too light and refused to compare Rasyid’s case with Afriyani Susanti’s.
Afriyani was the drunk driver who ran over 13 pedestrians and killed nine of them in a horrific accident in Gambir, Central Jakarta, on Jan. 22 last year. She was sentenced to 15 years in prison after she was found guilty of reckless driving and fatal driving.
“Rasyid was only charged with the negligence article because he was exhausted while Afriyani deliberately decided to drive despite being aware that she was under the influence of drugs and alcohol,” Riri said.
According to the Police report, Rasyid tested negative for drugs and alcohol after the crash.
Criminal law expert from the Jakarta Muhammadiyah University, Chairul Huda, said Rasyid’s decision to keep driving although he was exhausted and drowsy was categorized as a gross negligence.
“We cannot categorize his action as an intentional one because many people could still drive and would not cause an accident despite being exhausted,” he said, adding that in Afriyani’s case, she was aware of the risk of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, while Rasyid was only exhausted. (cor)