Ngada regent named suspect in airport blockade, not detained
The Jakarta Post
The East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Police finally named Ngada Regent Marianus Sae a suspect in an airport blockade case.
NTT Police chief spokesman Adj. Sr. Comr. Okto Riwu said the police had charged Marianus with Article 421 of the Criminal Code on abuse of power, which carries a maximum punishment of two years and eight months behind bars.
Contacted from Borong, East Manggarai regency, Okto told The Jakarta Post on Monday that the regent was not detained as the maximum punishment was less than five years.
Marianus allegedly ordered Ngada Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) officers to block the runway of Turelelo Airport in Soa district with their cars on Dec. 21.
The order was issued after Marianus was denied a seat on a fully-booked Merpati Nusantara Airlines flight from El Tari Airport in Kupang to Turelelo.
NTT Police have named 15 Satpol PP officers suspects in the case. They all face the maximum sentence of three years in prison and a fine of Rp 1 billion (US$81,900) each for violating Article 421 (2) of the 2009 Aviation Law.
Investigators from the Transportation Ministry will question the Satpol PP officers as the Aviation Law is a lex specialis.
National Police chief Gen. Sutarman previously said that Marianus would be charged with the harsher Aviation Law, instead of the Criminal Code.
When asked about the situation in Ngada regency, Okto said the situation was still conducive.
Meanwhile, Ngada Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Bertolomeus I Made Oka said the investigation had been taken over by the NTT Police and the National Police headquarters.
'The Ngada Police have questioned the Satpol PP chief and a number of his personnel,' he told the Post over the phone.
'We have also questioned a number of witnesses, including airport officials.'
Bertolomeus said detectives from the NTT Police and National Police would question Marianus.
NTT Governor Frans Lebu Raya voiced his support on Thursday for the police to question Marianus.
Questioning the regent would require the police to obtain permission from the governor and the NTT legislative council as regulated by Law No. 34/2000 on regional autonomy.
Bertolomeus also said that he had yet to hear about Marianus supporters planning to take to the streets to stage a rally.
'So far the situation in Ngada regency is still under control,' he said.
NTT Police chief Brig. Gen. Untung Yoga Ana denied allegations that the police had let Marianus' subordinates blockade the airport.
'The police have limited authority in the airport,' Untung told tempo.co.
'Airport officials had the authority to disperse the Satpol PP officers who were blockading the
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