Antasari Begins Bid for New Trial

The Jakarta Globe

Antasari Azhar, the anticorruption czar turned murder convict, attended the first hearing on Tuesday of his demand for a case review in the slaying of businessman Nasrudin Zulkarnaen, with the victim’s family providing their endorsement.

Antasari, the former chairman of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), was sentenced to 18 years in prison in 2010 for Nasrudin’s murder in what prosecutors described as a love triangle turned deadly.

Nasrudin’s younger brother, Andi Syamsudin, told reporters at the South Jakarta District Court that the findings of the Judicial Commission (KY) in the case pointed to the innocence of the former KPK head.

The judicial watchdog said in April that the judges in Antasari’s trial had been negligent by failing to consider the testimony of several experts and witnesses in arriving at their verdict.

“I have a lot of confidence that Antasari will be found not guilty because the KY recommendations mentioned that the panel of judges who presided over the trial were found to have ignored critical evidence in the case,” Andi said.

He said he hoped the judges would “appreciate” the new evidence and approve the case review. If the district court approves the review, it goes to the Supreme Court, and Andi said he hoped the judges there would acquit Antasari.

“If Antasari is released, I hope he will help us investigate and find the real culprit behind my brother’s murder,” he said. Andi added that the family, including his brother’s widow and children, had never accepted that a love triangle had been behind the murder.

“My wife and I have been assisting with this case because we cannot accept the fact that Nasrudin was killed,” Andi said.

Maqdir Ismail, Antasari’s lawyer, has said that six new pieces of evidence, relating to Nasrudin’s car, the bullets from the shooting and text messages, would be presented. He said none of the evidence had been presented at previous trials.

Outside the court, Antasari said he and Nasrudin’s family were eager to uncover the truth behind the murder.

“Even though I have been detained for three years, I carry no grudge because I knew this was the risk of my job,” he said. “If I was not the antigraft chief at the time, dealing with many corruption cases, would I have faced this thing? Do I look like a murderer?”

Antasari said his lawyers had submitted new evidence to the National Police related to a threatening text message he is alleged to have sent Nasrudin.

“In the previous trial, I was accused of sending a text message threat to Nasrudin, but that was not true,” he said. “There was an actor, who used my number to threaten other people, but I cannot elaborate right now because the investigation has to be carried out properly and we will present witnesses and evidence.”

Nasrudin was shot multiple times in March 2009 by a group of men on motorcycles while sitting in his car after leaving a golf club in Tangerang. He died in the hospital a day later.

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