Students urge Prosecutors Office to take action

EoF News / 19 November 2008

PEKANBARU (EoF News)— Students and residents allied in a group staged rally here today (19/11/2008) to urge the Riau Prosecutors Office to bring illegal logging and corruption cases  to the court amid the acknowledgment uttered by the law enforcer body last week that they give up to do so.

At least a hundred of protesters went to the main street in Pekanbaru city to visit the Prosecutors Office demanding the legal action taken against timber and pulp companies that allegedly conducted environmental crimes that had been probed by police since 2007.
Riau Terkini website reported today that the Riau Forum for Legal Care representative met the Prosecutors Office Assistant Intelligence who promised them to convey their petition to the Head of Office.

Last week Antara news agency (14/11/2008) reported that Suroso, Head of Riau Prosecutors Office, said his office could not prosecute the illegal logging cases to the court.

“They [allegedly companies involved] conducted activities which based upon the permits, therefore these cases are difficult to proceed,” Suroso told the agency on last Friday (Suara Pembaruan, 14/11/2008).
Separately Chief of Riau Police Brig.-Gen. Hadiatmoko reaffirmed that they still want to proceed the cases to the court, the agency reported.
The environmental crime and forest crime that probed by the police since 2007 involved at least 14 companies affiliated to Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) and Asian Pacific Resources International Holdings Limited (APRIL).

This legal action progress is at stalemate as the Prosecutors Office has yet to dossiers submitted by the police due to some reasons.

None of suspects from government and companies whom detained by the police.  The Ministry of Forestry defended the companies from the accusation as they had licenses to operate.

While, the police and environmental NGOs suspected that the companies breached the forestry laws by clearing natural forest as well as peat swamp forest for converting them into pulpwood plantations.  They accused the companies develop pulpwood plantations on prohibited areas.

Recently the environmental NGOs in the province urged the provincial government to issue regulation to impose logging moratorium in natural forest as an attempt to stop further deforestation.