The Jakarta Post
The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Jakarta lambasted alleged assault conducted by infamous gang leader Hercules Rosario Marshal prior to his verdict hearing at the West Jakarta District Court on Wednesday.
The AJI condemned the alleged assault targeted at journalists, saying it violated the 1999 law on the press, which guaranteed legal protection for journalists on duty, AJI Jakarta chairman Asnil Bambani Amri said.
“We urge the police to arrest Hercules and bring him to court for him to be handed down punishment that is as heavy as possible so that there will be a deterrent effect to prevent this case from reoccurring,” he said in a statement on Thursday.
Asnil also demanded that the police settle previous cases of attacks on journalists. The AJI noted that from the many cases reported in the Jakarta, not one had proceeded to court.
The organization also called on the public to not carry out acts of violence or intimidation targeted at journalists working in the field.
The incident took place at the court on Wednesday, when Hercules was standing trial for illegally occupying a 2-hectare plot of land in Kalideres, West Jakarta. As he stepped out of the car that brought him to the court, he was welcomed by a barrage of journalists and photojournalists trying to take photos of him.
He was allegedly furious and screamed before entering a holding room. Not wearing any handcuffs, he then allegedly chased several photographers who scattered away to protect themselves.
One online journalist identified only as FS, who was recording Hercules, found himself boxed in among parked cars. In a video that circulated on social media, Hercules appears to punch FS, who is holding a mobile phone in his hand while using his hand to try to protect his face. Several people attempt to stop the fight before Hercules is brought inside the court.
Asnil noted in the statement that not one policeman was seen guarding the area.
FS suffered bruises to his hand, which swelled up, allegedly because of the punches thrown by Hercules.
Asnil said FS initially wanted to file a report on the incident to the police. However, he cancelled the plan over concerns of his safety, Asnil added.
Hercules’ outburst also followed in the hearing room when he protested against the presence of police officers there. He stood up and shouted at the police, asking them to leave.
“Do you think it’s a terrorist trial? Get out,” he shouted while pointing at members of the police in the room, according to tribunnews.com.
His attorney then tried to calm him down as the panel of judges instructed that he return to his seat.
Hercules issued an apology to journalists Thursday in a video published online. In it, he claims his psychological state was affected by the verdict, which caused him to be emotional.
“I, Hercules Rosario Marshal, apologize to journalists for my emotional reaction before my verdict hearing at the West Jakarta District Court,” he says in the video.
Sr. Comr. Hengki Haryadi of the West Jakarta Police said the security acted in accordance with standard operating procedures.
As many as 300 members of the police were deployed to stand guard at the court.
Once crowned Jakarta’s “Godfather of the Streets”, Hercules was found guilty in the hearing of illegally entering and occupying land belonging to PT Nila Alam, violating multiple charges of the Criminal Code, including articles 167 on trespassing and 170 on assault. He was sent to eight months in prison.
He and 11 of his subordinates occupied the land for three months, during which the group intimidated and extorted money from local residents.
It was reportedly his fourth criminal case, after having previously been sent to prison over thuggery and money laundering charges. His longest amount of time served was in 2013, when he was sent to three years in prison for money laundering.
Hercules received the Satyalancana Seroja medal for logistical assistance he had provided to the Army's Special Forces (Kopassus) during Seroja Operation in East Timor, now Timor Leste, in the 1990s. (sau)