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Jakarta Post

Intellectually impaired man on trial for alleged drug smuggling

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, March 26, 2019   /   04:06 pm
Intellectually impaired man on trial for alleged drug smuggling A police officer puts drugs on display following raids in Tanah Kusir, South Jakarta, in this file photo. (JP/Seto Wardhana.)

Wendra Purnama’s lips trembled when he answered questions posed to him by a panel of judges during his drug trial at the Tangerang District Court on Monday.

Wendra is intellectual impaired and struggles to talk.

Only one or two words come out of his mouth. “Me [...] Ica [...]?" the 22-year-old told the court.

Wendra’s lawyer, Antonius Badar Karwayu from the Jakarta-based rights group Community Legal Aid Institute (LBH Masyarakat), immediately clarified Wendra’s words.

"Maybe he wanted to ask about Ica, one of his friends who was using sabu-sabu (crystal methamphetamine), before the police arrested him. Why was Ica not present,” Antonious told the judges as quoted by tempo.co.

Police investigators Eko Cahyono and Mustaqil Choiri, who testified at the trial, answered Wendra’s question, saying they did not arrest Ica as he was not with Wendra when he was arrested.

"We are focusing more on the sabu-sabu smugglers and those who ordered it,” Eko told the court.

Wendra looked baffled as he heard the answer. He tried to speak but he only managed to mumble nervously.

Wendra was arrested on the Cengkareng Outer Ring Road in West Jakarta on Nov. 25 last year, along with his friend, Hau Hau Wijaya, for alleged drug dealing. The police allegedly found 0.23 grams of sabu-sabu on Hau.

Wendra has appeared in court five times already for allegedly violating the 2009 law on narcotics.

Antonius asked the court to acquit his client because Wendra was intellectually impaired and had difficulty communicating, adding that the Banten office of the Indonesian Psychology Association also agreed with this assessment after it examined him.

Antonius said he planned to give the test results to the panel of judges at the next hearing on Monday.

"Wendra's psychological test results show that he has a problem with thinking. He also lacks adaptive functions because his intelligence level was below average, his IQ is only 55," he added on Monday.

"He has difficulty distinguishing between good and bad, right and wrong as well as his rights and obligations," Antonius said.

A paralegal at the Banten Drugs Policy Reform group, Immanudin, said Wendra’s case was legally flawed considering his condition.

“This is nonsense because how can a person with mental disabilities understand the cross-examination process, especially when the police question him,” he said.

Imanuddin added that as a person who was intellectual impaired, Wendra was not fit to stand trial. He suspected that he was the victim of a narcotics network.

“He was trapped to save the big dealer,” he added.

Wendra’s mother, Ahua, said her son had been intellectually impaired since birth.

“He has trouble speaking and communicating,” the 50-year-old said, adding that she was shocked and confused about the case against his son.

"How come? As far as I know, my son doesn't get along with people […] Who wants to be friends with a boy who can’t speak clearly like that?” Ahua said. (ggq)