The Jakarta Post
For the third time, graft fugitive Djoko Soegiarto Tjandra has failed to attend a hearing of a case review he filed against his conviction in a high-profile corruption case and has requested for the hearing to be held virtually, as he is reportedly residing in Kuala Lumpur.
His attorney Andi Putra Kusuma read out a letter signed by Djoko in Kuala Lumpur on July 17, which cited health issues as the reason for his absence.
“I, as the plaintiff, express my apology to the panel of judges of this case review hearing for my absence due to my declining health,” Andi read during the hearing at the South Jakarta District Court on Monday.
In the letter, Djoko also requested for the hearing to be held virtually.
“For the sake of justice and legal certainty, through this letter, I plead to the panel of judges in charge of my case review to allow for an online hearing or teleconference,” Andi added.
Djoko was also absent form hearings of his case review on June 29 and July 6. The fugitive, who was convicted in the high-profile Bank Bali corruption case, filed the case review in early June without being detected by the authorities. He has remained at large since 2009 after fleeing to Papua New Guinea.
Presiding judge Nazar Effriandi refused the request, saying that a teleconference hearing was not permitted in the circular issued by the Supreme Court and that the letter read out in court indicated that Djoko did not intend to attend the hearing of his own case.
Nazar adjourned the hearing to next Monday when prosecutors will deliver their response on the case review.
Djoko’s return has sparked outrage, as he was able to enter the country undetected, allowing him to file the case review after also being issued a new electronic identification card and passport and having his red notice status lifted.
It was recently revealed that three high-ranking police officers have been removed from their posts over their alleged involvement in helping the infamous fugitive.
Activists and experts have called on the court to dismiss Djoko’s case review.
The Indonesian Anti-Corruption Community (MAKI) has filed an amicus curiae – a brief offered by someone who is not a party to a case – to encourage the court to reject the review.
"The court should not accept Djoko’s case review because it doesn’t comply with legal procedures and requirements,” the group’s coordinator Boyamin Saiman said in a written statement on Monday.
He said that based on the Criminal Law Procedures Code (KUHAP), parties entitled to file case reviews are convicts or their heirs. Whereas Djoko, he argued, had not served any of his two-year sentence.
Boyamin also explained that according to Immigration Office records, no one named Djoko Tjandra had entered Indonesia through any immigration posts, and urged the judges to consider that Djoko had never returned to Indonesia after his escape in 2009, making the case review petition invalid.
Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW) researcher Kurnia Ramadhana echoed Boyamin’s sentiment, saying that the court should reject Djoko's case review, noting the judges had postponed the hearing several times because the plaintiff was absent.
Supreme Court Circular Letter No. 1/2012 and Article 265 of the KUHAP require the plaintiff to attend when registering and during the hearing of the review.
Djoko, Kurnia said, had also broken the law by fleeing the country in 2009 to avoid his sentence.
"The judges must be objective and help law enforcement by not accepting the review,” he said.
Both MAKI and ICW called on President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to push for Djoko’s extradition from Malaysia, noting the process would involve high-level diplomacy.
"President Jokowi and Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyidin Yassin have a good relationship. This should be used to extradite Djoko from Malaysia," Boyamin said.
Foreign Ministry acting spokesperson Teuku Faizasyah stated that the ministry would assist law enforcement agencies in their efforts to extradite Djoko to Indonesia through the available legal mechanisms.
"The Foreign Ministry will cooperate and coordinate with the relevant authorities in Indonesia," he said.