Kopassus troops face death penalty in Cebongan trials
The Jakarta Post
The trials of 12 members of the Army's Special Forces (Kopassus) accused of involvement in the murder of four detainees in Cebongan Penitentiary in Sleman, Yogyakarta, began on Thursday at the Yogyakarta Military Court, where nine of them were charged with premeditated murder.
Military prosecutors said that the nine members of Kopassus Group 2, based in Kandang Menjangan, Sukoharjo, Central Java, had violated Article 340 of the Criminal Code (KUHP), which carries the death penalty, lifetime imprisonment or a minimum of 20 years' imprisonment.
Three of the soldiers ' Second Sgt. Ucok Tigor Simbolon, Second Sgt. Sugeng Sumaryanto and Corp. Kodik ' have also been charged under articles 338 and 351 of the KUHP with premeditated violence and murder.
Ucok is alleged to have been the one who actually shot the four detainees.
'The defendants are charged with having committed premeditated murder, torture causing death, and disobeying their superior's orders to remain in their barracks,' military prosecutor Lt. Col. Budiharto said.
Prosecutors alleged that Ucok committed the murders because he wanted to take revenge on the detainees for the beating of Sriyono, a former Kopassus sergeant who had once saved Ucok's life when they were serving together in Aceh.
The four detainees, who were suspects in the murder of another former Kopassus member, Chief Sgt. Heru Santosa, at a cafÃ© in Yogyakarta, were wrongly believed by Ucok to have beaten Sriyono.
The police had already detained another suspect, identified as Marcel, in the Sriyono case.
The presentation of the case was divided into four dossiers and conducted in two sessions in two separate rooms ' the main and additional courtrooms.
The main courtroom was used to try the eight alleged ringleaders of the killings whose dossiers were divided into two. The first dossier involved Ucok, Sugeng and Kodik.
The other dossier related to First Sgt. Tri Juwanto, First Sgt. Anjar Rahmanto, First Sgt. Mathius Roberto Pulus Banani, First Sgt. Suprapto and First Sgt. Hermawan Siswoyo. Those five defendants are alleged to have joined the other three defendants in the prison attack and to have abetted them in the commission of the killings.
The additional courtroom was used to try the remaining defendants who were charged with having a role in the killings and the trial again comprised two dossiers.
The first dossier implicated Second Sgt. Rokhmadi, Maj. Sgt. Muhammad Zaenuri and Chief Sgt. Sutar, who were on guard duty at the Kopassus headquarters in Kandang Menjangan.
'They pursued the nine Kopassus members who had left the barracks for Yogyakarta,' the prosecutors claimed in the charge.
The are charged under Article 121 (1) of the Military Penal Code and Article 55 (1) of the KUHP with participation in the killings. The articles carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
The second dossier involved Second Sgt. Ikhmawan Suprapto, who, the military prosecutor said, waited in a car while the shootings were being carried out in the prison.
Responding, the defendants' team of lawyers, led by Col. Rokhmat, said that they denied the charges. 'There was no plan to commit murder at all,' Rokhmat said. He then asked for demurs to respond to the prosecutors' charges. The trial was adjourned until Monday, June 24.
Separately, commenting on the trial, chairwoman of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), Siti Noor Laila, said that there were discrepancies between the facts presented in the trial and those uncovered by the commission in the field, including the number of perpetrators and the weapons they carried.
'We leave these discrepancies in the judges' hands,' Siti said.
Around 450 personnel from the police and military were deployed to safeguard the trials.
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