'Bring more suspects to justice'

EoF News / 11 November 2009

PEKANBARU (EoF News)—  Environmental groups in Riau urged law enforcers to probe more Riau corruption cases and bring more suspects to justice.

Meanwhile, the jailed former Riau’s Pelalawan District Head for logging license issuance filed extra judicial against Supreme Court’s decision penalizing him to 11-year imprisonment.  

Former District Head of Pelalawan, Tengku Azman Jaafar, who was sentenced by Supreme Court in August 2009 to 11-year imprisonment, protested the penalty and submitted letter to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to seek the justice.

Jikalahari and Walhi Riau urged the Anti-corruption Commission (KPK) to prosecute three former Riau forestry service heads who named suspects by KPK since 2009.

The NGOs also called KPK to review status of Riau Governor Rusli Zainal who was witness for Azmun’s corruption case as the first allegedly issued logging license which was not his authority, said Ali Husein Nasution, lawyer of Walhi Riau.

“KPK must also probe the companies involved, such as two giant pulp firms in Riau, who are recipients of the logs,” said Ali Husein as quoted by Koran Tempo last week (3/11/2009).

In his letter submitted to President Yudhoyono recently, Azmun said he was victimized to save other people. “I plead for justice to the President. I was sacrificed in forestry crime case in Riau to save other sides,” he told on the letter, Neraca daily reported Monday (9/11/2009).

“Azmun was mentioned on his verdict committing corruption collectively with other Riau officials, but the other suspects and witnesses are not prosecuted yet,” said S.F Marbun, his lawyer, Suara Pembaruan daily reported Monday (9/11/2009). “It’s obviously discriminative,” he said.

“If it says that [the defendant] jointly committed corruption, why only me that penalized? It’s not fair,” Azmun Jaafar complained.

The former district head who issued logging licenses for 15 companies in Riau questioned why the government does not revoke them even the court decided that those were illegal.

“If the licenses I issued were found illegal, the companies should have stopped to clear the forest,” Azmun said as quoted by Neraca daily as saying.

Anti-corruption probe by KPK in Riau has jailed Azmun but other three suspects who former Riau Forestry Service heads and Riau Governor remain free, said Marbun.

Meanwhile, Director Executive of WALHI (Friends of Earth) Jakarta, Slamet Daroyuni, said illegal logging in Indonesia was driven by many criminals of ‘forest mafia’ operating in the Ministry of Forestry.

“Forest mafioso exist due to weak law enforcement in this country,” Slamet said, as quoted by Rakyat Merdeka daily on Sunday (8/11/2009).

A parliamentarian from Commission IV, Jafar Hafsah, said that if the Government implements forest management regulation seriously, the forest mafia can be eliminated.

Forestry Ministry Zulkifli Hasan said he would eradicate the forest mafia in the institution if he obtains the accurate information on their operation.