Victim Not Surprised By Light Sentence

Victim Not Surprised By Light Sentence

The Bekasi district court on Thursday sentenced a man who threatened a Batak Protestant Congregation (HKBP) church pastor Palti Panjaitan, to two months in jail and six months probation.

Abdul Aziz bin Naimun was charged with unpleasant conduct after demonstrations outside the HKBP Filadelfia church in Bekasi.

“The defendant has been proven validly and convincingly guilty of a crime under Article 335 Sub-article 1,” presiding judge Wasdi Permana said on Thursday.

The judge also ordered him to pay a Rp 2,000 ($0.18).

“The defendant will not be detained,” Wasdi said. “Under the terms of the six month probation period, he should be careful not to be involved in any criminal activity.”

The sentence generally met prosecutor demands for three months in prison, six months probation and Rp 2,000 in fines.

Both the prosecutor and the defendant, Palti, told the court they hadn’t decided whether to file an appeal or not.

In a separate interview, Palti told the Jakarta Globe that he personally accepted the judge’s decision.

“Whatever is decided by the judges is the best for me,” Palti said. “But I will discuss with my lawyers if they want to file an appeal over the coming days.”

Palti said he had not expected the court to send Aziz to jail.

“I only want to deter other people not to repeat what he did,” Palti explained.

Judianto Simanjuntak, Palti’s lawyer, said he did not blame the court for what he considered an unfair ruling.

“This has been wrong since the start,” Judianto said.

“We wanted the police to charge him with two main offences, the hampering of a religious service and a threat to commit murder, as well as an additional charge of unpleasant conduct. But the police only charged him with Article 335 on unpleasant conduct in the indictment.”

The maximum sentence for unpleasant conduct is a year in jail while a murder threat, as stipulated in Article 336 of the Criminal Code, carries up to two years and eight months. For hampering religious services, the maximum sentence is a year and four months.

“These legal enforcers failed to see the case from the perspective of the victim,” Judianto said. “This is a serious threat to religious freedom, not only a conflict between two individuals.”

Bonar Tigor Naipospos, deputy director of the Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace, a nongovernmental organization, told the Jakarta Globe that such sentences would not be effective deterrents.

“Probation means he won’t be jailed [for long] and that’s too light to deter him or others like him,” Bonar said.

“His motive is discrimination and intolerance, in the end, he will be praised as a hero by the intolerant group he belongs to and will feel justified carrying on with his religious discrimination and intolerance.”

According to witnesses, Abdul told the pastor, “Palti, I’m going to cut your throat,” while swiping his finger across his neck as hard-liners hurled rotten eggs and cow feces at churchgoers during a tense Easter protest outside the shuttered church.

Abdul told the court that he did not know he had violated the law by threatening Palti, and he only wanted to deter the congregation from worshipping at their sealed church.

The two men have been entwined in a separate legal cases since Christmas Eve of 2011. Aziz filed a complaint with police claiming he was pushed during a protest.

Bonar said that it is common in Indonesia that a victim is being victimized for second time by police, such as in the Ahmadiyah case in Sampang.

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