The Jakarta Post
For the first time in Indonesia, a court has sentenced an illegal miner to multiple crimes in an attempt to create a deterrent effect to curb environmental and forestry crimes.
The Koba District Court of Central Bangka regency in Bangka Belitung Islands found Azeman, 44, guilty of two crimes for mining illegally in the protected forest area of Lubuk Besar in the regency.
The panel of judges, which was presided over by Yuliana and included members Subroto and Magdalena Simanungkalit, found the defendant guilty of mining in a forest area without a permit and deliberately causing environmental damage.
The Environment and Forestry Ministry’s Law Enforcement Directorate General charged Azeman under Law No. 18/2013 on the prevention and eradication of forest destruction, which carries a maximum punishment of 15 years’ imprisonment and a Rp 10 billion (US$681,700) fine.
Separately, the directorate general’s Sumatra chapter charged Azeman under Law No. 32/2009 on environmental protection and management, which carries a maximum punishment of 10 years’ imprisonment and a Rp 10 billion fine.
The ministry’s criminal law enforcement director, Yazid Nurhuda, said the panel of judges had sentenced Azeman to four years and six months’ imprisonment and ordered him to pay a Rp 3 billion fine, exceeding the charges sought by the public prosecutors.
Yazid expressed appreciation for the panel’s “multidoor” decision, describing it as “very historic”, although he said the perpetrator should have been punished to the full extent of the law.
“Perpetrators of such crimes should be severely punished,” he said in a statement released on Tuesday, adding that investigators and relevant experts were gathering evidence on the involvement of other parties.
The ministry’s law enforcement director general, Rasio Ridho Sani, said environmental and forest damages in Bangka Belitung Islands had been “very severe” and that the “multidoor” scheme was a breakthrough for combating environmental destruction.
“The enforcement of multilayered criminal law needs to also be applied to the laundering of the profits from illegal mining,” Rasio said.
“We are talking with the PPATK [Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center] and the Attorney General’s Office about civil suits against illegal mining actors,” he added.