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Jakarta Post

Court rules in favor of environmental scientist in Buton mining case

  • Kharishar Kahfi

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, December 13, 2018   /   05:52 pm
Court rules in favor of environmental scientist in Buton mining case Buton Island, Southeast Sulawesi (JP/-)

The Cibinong District Court in Bogor, West Java, has rejected a lawsuit filed by former Southeast Sulawesi governor and graft convict Nur Alam against scientist Basuki Wasis, in a move that highlighted the government’s commitment to the environment.

Nur filed a lawsuit against Basuki, an environmental expert from Bogor Agricultural University (IPB), who had calculated potential losses in the former governor’s graft case, which amounted to Rp 2.7 trillion (US$1.8 million).

The former governor has been convicted of causing environmental destruction on Buton Island by issuing several mining permits. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison and ordered to pay a Rp 1 billion fine in the graft case.

The panel of judges of Cibinong District Court said Basuki’s study, which was presented in Nur’s trial, had no implication for Nur’s sentence as the judges in Nur's graft trial did not use it in their consideration upon handing down their verdict against Nur.

“The bench accepted the defendant’s refutation plea and stated that Nur Alam’s suit cannot be accepted,” according to a written statement from Basuki’s lawyer made available to The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

The judges also said concern over prosecution against environmental experts was among the considerations to reject Nur’s lawsuit.

The Jakarta Corruption Court sentenced Nur in March after finding the National Mandate Party (PAN) politician guilty of misusing his authority to grant mining licenses between 2009 and 2014 to nickel miner PT Anugerah Harisma Barakah, in which he owns a 2 percent stake under the name of his aide.

The court also stripped him of his political rights for five years after he serves his time in prison, which was sought by Corruption Eradication Commission prosecutors.

Nur denied any wrongdoing and said he would "waste no time" in appealing the verdict, but he later sued Basuki and members of his team from IPB for committing a wrongful act that caused others to suffer losses, resulting in civil legal liability for the perpetrator, which the plaintiff claimed a violation of the Civil Code.