Atut stripped of right to public office
The Jakarta Post
The Supreme Court has stripped former Banten governor Ratu Atut Chosiyah of her right to run for public office following her conviction for graft.
The Supreme Court announced the ruling, which was made in February, on Wednesday.
'The court has revoked her right to be elected to public office. But the ruling does not touch on the issue of whether she can exercise her right to vote,' Supreme Court spokesman justice Suhadi said on Wednesday.
The Jakarta Corruption Court sentenced Atut to four years in prison in September last year for paying a Rp 1 billion (US$80,000) bribe to then Constitutional Court chief justice Akil Mochtar in return for a ruling in favor of political candidates she backed who had filed an election dispute petition at the court.
Earlier this year, the Supreme Court handed down a heavier sentence for Atut, adding three years to her prison term.
The cassation panel that heard Atut's appeal, which consisted of presiding judge Artidjo Alkostar, judge MS Lumme and judge Krisna Harahap, said in its ruling that as a local leader, Atut should have been a role model, and her re-election to public office could allow her to commit similar crimes in the future.
'Therefore, the possibility of her being re-elected to a political position should be prevented, so that the defendant does not repeat the same mistakes in the future,' the panel said in its ruling.
The same ruling also ordered Atut to pay Rp 200 million (US$15,017) in fines for giving the bribe.
Atut paid the bribe to Akil via her lawyer Susi Tur Andayani.
The Jakarta Corruption Court handed down a more lenient sentence for Atut than the 10-year sentence demanded by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) prosecutors.
In the sentence, judges at the Jakarta Corruption Court also rejected the KPK prosecutors' demand to strip Atut of her political rights.
Antigraft activists had condemned the lower court ruling, saying that it was too lenient on Atut, who was known as a ruthless local politician who was determined to build a political dynasty in the poverty-stricken Banten province.
The Supreme Court appellate bench members in Atut's case, Artidjo, Lumme and Krisna, were the same judges who revoked the political rights of former Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) chairman Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq, who was found guilty of receiving bribes in a meat-importation graft case.
Several other graft convicts whose rights to public office have been revoked by the court include former Democratic Party chairman Anas Urbaningrum, who was convicted in graft and money-laundering cases, former National Traffic Police Corps (Korlantas) chief Insp. Gen. Djoko Susilo, who was convicted of inflating a budget allocated to procure driving simulators, and former Riau governor Rusli Zainal, who was convicted on two counts of receiving bribes during his tenure as governor.
Erwin Natosmal of the Indonesian Legal Roundtable (ILR) applauded the court ruling.
'The ruling against Atut shows the consistency of the Supreme Court. I believe it is an effort to stop the cycle of political corruption,' Erwin said.
'Merely putting corruption convicts behind bars will not deter them,' he added.
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