The Jakarta Post
After losing in a pretrial hearing, Medan Police released the chairman of North Sumatra Parisada Hindu Dharma Indonesia (PHDI), Siwaji Raja, from police detention only to immediately arrest him again on Tuesday.
The rearrest triggered protests from dozens of Siwaji’s relatives, who had been waiting for his release. Amid the unrest, the police were able to take Siwaji away from the crowd and send him back to police detention.
Siwaji had previously filed a pretrial motion against investigators’ decision to name him a suspect in the murder of businessman Indra Gunawan, who was shot dead in front of his shop on Jan. 18.
During the pretrial hearing at the Medan District Court on Monday, sole judge Erintuah Damanik ordered the police to immediately release Siwaji and annul his suspect status. The judge said he accepted Siwaji’s petition because the witnesses presented by the police were considered weak.
In addition, Damanik said, the death of the prime suspect, Kuna Rawi Indra, who was shot dead by police during his arrest last February, had also weakened the police’s investigation.
(Read also: Murder suspects shot dead)
Police chief Sr. Comr. Sandi Nugroho said they respected the court’s decision hence the brief release. However, investigators held a case screening overnight that concluded Siwaji could be named a suspect again.
“We have made a whole new case dossier and named him a suspect again. Therefore, after we released him, he arrested him again,” he said, adding that he was confident the police now had stronger evidence.
Siwaji had been detained since February. The police have also arrested six other suspects in the murder. (dis)
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