Former Antigraft Chief’s Lawyers Request Review of Murder Conviction

The Jakarta Globe

The legal team of former antigraft czar Antasari Azhar filed on Monday for a case review of his murder conviction, citing flawed legal reasoning by the judges and overlooked evidence.

Maqdir Ismail, a lawyer for the former Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) chairman — who was sentenced to 18 years in prison in 2010 for the murder of businessman Nasrudin Zulkarnaen — said there were several issues raised at the trial at the South Jakarta District Court that subsequent appeal courts had failed to properly examine.

Maqdir raised the issue of the threatening text messages reportedly sent by Antasari to Nasrudin. An IT expert testified that Antasari never sent the messages, as alleged by prosecutors, but the judges concluded that he had, based on testimony from three people who claimed to have read the messages. The messages could not be accessed or read during the trial.

Maqdir voiced concerns about the conviction of Antasari for “participation in encouraging others” to carry out the murder, reportedly over a love triangle involving a female golf caddie.

“A conviction based on such a finding is unacceptable because the terminology ‘participation in encouraging’ is not recognized in the Criminal Code and cannot be used to convict a defendant,” the lawyer said.

The terminology for accessory to murder is “participation in a sinister conspiracy” to kill.

Maqdir said another key point was the court’s failure to oblige prosecutors to present the police reports on Nasrudin’s clothes and car during the trial.

“It was important because we could have used them to find out about the range from which the victim was shot. If it was at close range, then there would have been gunpowder on his car and clothes,” he said.

Maqdir also said that the trajectory of the bullet shot into Nasrudin’s head was not the same as the trajectory of the bullets fired into the car.

“This needs to be investigated,” he said, adding that testimony from a ballistics expert indicating that the weapon was broken and could not have been used was also overlooked by the judges.

The Judicial Commission has previously highlighted indications that the three judges trying the case may have willfully overlooked key evidence, and it has since called for them to face a six-month suspension and ethics tribunal. The Supreme Court has refused to act, though, arguing the judges are protected by judicial immunity.

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