The Jakarta Post
Four former Transjakarta employees accused of sexually assaulting a passenger pleaded not guilty to the charges on Wednesday.
The defendants ' Edwin Kurniawan Lingga, Dharman L. Sitorus, Ifan Lutfi Akbar and M. Kurniawan ' said during a closed court hearing that no sexual assault took place in the generator room of the Harmoni bus shelter in Central Jakarta.
The four men are being tried on charges of sexually assaulting a bus passenger who suffered an asthma attack while traveling on a Transjakarta bus from Cempaka Putih to Harmoni, both in Central Jakarta, on Jan. 21.
The prosecutors, led by Sinta Dewi, demanded 18-month sentences for each of the defendants should they be found guilty of violating Article 290 of the Criminal Code on acts of obscenity toward the powerless.
The defendants pleaded not guilty on Wednesday.
'There was sexual activity between Ifan, one of the defendants, and the victim, but it was consensual. No one forced her to do anything,' Togar Sijabat, one of the defendants' lawyers, told The Jakarta Post at the Central Jakarta District Court.
Togar said that Ifan, who worked at the Harmoni Transjakarta bus stop, and the victim had dated in the past. He added that Edwin, a Transjakarta employee who was on duty at the time, was on the bus when the victim fainted and he assisted her.
Togar claimed that the victim had pretended to faint in the hope of getting Ifan's attention when she arrived at the bus stop.
Afterward, Togar added, Edwin had taken the victim to the generator room in the Harmoni shelter to prevent her from vomiting on the bus. The three others defendants had followed them into the room.
'After the other defendants saw that Ifan, the victim's former boyfriend, had entered the room, they left him alone with the victim,' Togar said
He said further that Ifan and the woman had sex in the room.
Therefore, Togar demanded that the judges declare the defendants not guilty.
Contacted separately, Uli Pangaribuan of the Women's Legal Aid Foundation (LBH APIK), who accompanied the victim during the trial, called the defendants' claims outrageous and groundless.
She said the victim did not know any of the defendants personally, let alone have a romantic relationship with any of them as their lawyer claimed.
'She might have seen one of them at the bus stop more than once because she uses the bus to get home. That's all,' she said.
Uli added that it was possible that the defendants had seen the victim have an asthma attack on a previous occasion on the Harmoni route bus, which meant they would know she would be weak and vulnerable when she got off the bus.
'If, let's say, they really wanted to help her, why did they take her to a closed generator room instead of the ticket room with a woman staffer there?' she asked.
Uli said further that the police report filed by the victim after the incident showed that there had not been any consensual sexual activity between them.
The judges are scheduled to read the verdict at an open hearing on Tuesday. (idb)
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