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BerichtOnderwerp: Finally some sense in this crazy affair!   Finally some sense in this crazy affair! Icon_minitimema 18 apr 2011 - 21:42

Pocketknife-Carrying Merapi Volunteer Cleared of Weapons Charge

Yogyakarta. In a mind-boggling example of the Indonesian justice system, a search and rescue volunteer who spent more than 100 days behind bars for possessing a weapon — a Rp 45,000 ($5) pocketknife — was on Monday cleared of all charges.

It took more than six months and nine hearings for the Sleman District Court in Yogyakarta to acquit Arief Johar Cahyadi Permana, 24, a university student who had volunteered to help search and rescue efforts during last year’s eruptions of Mount Merapi.

Arief was arrested by the Sleman Police on Nov. 23 at a roadblock after he was found to be carrying the pocketknife.

He was charged with violating the 1951 Emergency Law on possession of weapons.

Arief was returning home after helping with search and rescue efforts when he was arrested.

He spent 105 days behind bars before his appeal to be released from detention was granted on March 8.

The court ruled that the prosecution’s indictment had been proven, but that Arief was not guilty of a crime.

“From the facts and statements of witnesses, it was revealed in court that the defendant’s act of carrying a sharp weapon, or a multi-tool pocketknife, was not a crime, because at the time the defendant had just returned from helping to burn cow caracasses on the slopes of Merapi,” Suratno, the presiding judge, said in reading out the verdict.

Hendardi, a lawyer and activist from the Setara Institute for Peace and Democracy, said Arief could sue for wrongful arrest and investigation. “The police should not have been so insensitive as to detain a person for such a long time when the matter could have been resolved quickly,” he said.

“Also, I was not aware that carrying a folded pocketknife was a crime in this country.”

Arief, who was defended for free by a team of 14 lawyers, said he would continue to volunteer for search and rescue operations.

(thank you the JG)
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