From Paras Indonesia http://www.parasindonesia.com/read.php?gid=438
August, 18 2006 @ 09:58 amMurderer Tommy Suharto To Be Released Soon
Former dictator Suharto’s youngest son Hutomo ‘Tommy’ Mandala Putra was in 2002 sentenced to 15 years in jail for ordering the murder of a Supreme Court judge, possession of weapons and fleeing justice. Given that he was arrested in late 2001, he would be due for release in 2016. Not so, because thanks to the largely crooked and spineless judiciary, he has received numerous remissions amounting to more than three years, as well as a sentence cut of five years. He therefore qualifies for conditional release and prison officials say he will be freed in September after having spent less than five years behind bars.
The legal saga of Tommy (44) dates back to April 1999, when he and his business partner Ricardo Gelael were prosecuted for corruption in a land scam that cost the state $11 million. The two were acquitted in October 1999 by South Jakarta District Court, which is notorious for handing down the best verdicts that money can buy. In September 2000, a panel of three Supreme Court judges, led by Syafiuddin Kartasasmita (who allegedly refused a bribe from Tommy’s lawyer), overturned the not guilty verdict and sentenced Tommy and Gelael each to 18 months in jail for corruption.
Unwilling to go to jail, Tommy paid a $1.5 million bribe in the hope of winning a presidential pardon. When the bribe failed, he went on the run in November 2000. Police seemed incapable or unwilling to find him for over a year.
In July 2001, two gunmen on Tommy’s payroll assassinated Kartasasmita – lethal payback for having dared to convict the once untouchable playboy. In October 2001, the Supreme Court bizarrely overturned Tommy’s corruption conviction and 18 month jail sentence, claiming he could not be held accountable for the activities of his company. It appeared the acquittal was part of a deal, as Tommy on November 28, 2001, surrendered to police at one of his South Jakarta hideouts. He was not dealt with like a common murder suspect, but instead received hospitable treatment. In a grotesque display of sycophantic servility, then Jakarta Police chief Sofjan Jacoeb publicly hugged a smiling Tommy and spared him the indignity of being put in handcuffs. After being held by police for several weeks, Tommy was transferred to a luxury private cell at East Jakarta’s Cipinang jail.
On July 26, 2002, Central Jakarta District Court sentenced Tommy to 15 years in jail for murder, fleeing justice, and illegal possession of firearms, explosives and ammunition. Not surprisingly, he failed to show up for the verdict, claiming to be sick. Over the following years he received lengthy remissions twice yearly, on the occasion of August 17 Independence Day and on the Islamic holiday of Idul Fitri. To date, his remissions have amounted to 3 years and one month.
Prison life has not been tough for Tommy, who spends much of his time relaxing, playing badminton and holding business meetings. He receives specially delivered meals and has enjoyed overnight visits from at least one of his girlfriends.
Tommy has also been regularly allowed out of jail, ostensibly for medical treatment (his doctors claim there’s a tumor behind his left eye) and to visit his father, although rumor has it he’s been doing business and cavorting with his girlfriends (although not with his wife, who has filed for divorce).
On June 24, 2005, the Supreme Court reduced Tommy’s sentence to 10 years on appeal. The panel of five judges responsible for the ruling was led by Supreme Court chief justice Bagir Manan, who said the charge of fleeing justice should not have carried any penalty.
On the occasion of this year’s Independence Day, the Justice and Human Rights Ministry on Thursday (17/8/06) gave Tommy a five month remission, while prison officials announced he would be eligible for conditional release next month.
In other words, murder a member of the state’s highest judicial body, vehemently deny any wrongdoing when you’re not too busy feigning illness, and you’ll spend only four years and nine months in jail – not counting all the times you’ve been allowed out for “medical reasons” and family visits.
The message couldn’t be clearer. If a court ever again rules against Tommy Suharto, the presiding judge could be killed and authorities will lack the courage and principles to ensure the murderer receives appropriate punishment.
The announcement of Tommy's impending release was made by Cipinang’s chief warden, Wibowo Joko Harjono. "He still has three years to serve, but he will receive conditional release in September this year,” Harjono was quoted as saying by detikcom online news portal.
“It is not an unconditional release, but a release in stages,” he was quoted as saying by tempointeraktif.com. He said Tommy was worthy of conditional release because he had been well behaved and served two-thirds of his sentence. He did not mention whether the decision was influenced by the payment of any bribes.
The warden said that after Tommy is released, he will receive social counseling and be obliged to periodically report to prison authorities.
He admitted that Tommy is already frequently allowed to leave Cipinang, where he occupies a special cell in the super maximum security isolation block, ensuring he does not have to mingle with more common prisoners. "He is allowed out in accordance with a request from his doctor. The frequency [of leave] is in line with his requirements. So far, the Cendana family member most often visiting Tommy is Mamiek. The other members of the family have not appeared.”
Cendana is the Central Jakarta street where many members of the super-rich Suharto clan reside. Siti Hutami ‘Mamiek’ Adiningsih is one of Tommy’s three sisters.
Justice and Human Rights Minister Hamid Awaluddin, currently embattled by accusations that he was involved in the embezzlement of funds from the 2004 national elections, was apparently unaware of the announcement from Cipinang that Tommy would be released soon. Presiding over a remission ceremony at Tangerang jail in Banten province, he denied Tommy was about to be freed. “That is untrue. He began serving time in 2001 and although he has received several remissions he is not yet free," he was quoted as saying by the Republika daily’s online edition.
Awaluddin had two months ago claimed that Tommy would still be spending a long time behind bars.
The minister on June 19 denied reports that Tommy would be eligible for ‘asimilasi’ – a special form of limited release enabling prisoners to leave jail during working hours. Reports at that time had speculated that Tommy would receive limited release in September and then conditional release in December.
Presidential Decree No.32/1999 on Prisoners' Rights allows inmates who have displayed good behavior and served half of their sentence to receive limited release so they can undertake educational pursuits, social activities or work, to enable them to readjust to public life before receiving conditional release.
Awaluddin said the government had never considered granting Tommy limited release. "Who said that? He was sentenced to 15 years, which was later reduced to 10 years. His term started in 2001 and its now just 2006, so there remains a significant period.”
He said that although Tommy could qualify for limited release, “so far there has been no consideration in that direction”.
On August 8, Harjono hinted that Tommy would soon be released. "Wait and see on August 17. I cannot talk about it. It’s a state secret,” he was quoted as saying by jawapos.com.
Cipinang’s director of registrations and data Sukartono Supangat said a proposal for Tommy’s conditional release had been submitted to the Jakarta Justice and Human Rights Office and would then be forwarded to the Justice and Human Rights Ministry’s directorate general of socialization.
Harjono said he had proposed the conditional release. "I have just made the proposal. Whether or not is agreed to is a matter for the directorate general and the minister.”
He denied Tommy was receiving special treatment, saying it was necessary for him to be allowed to rest when not on leave for medical treatment. "Tommy has not yet completely recovered. He is said to still require irradiation.”
Missing Wedding Certificate?
Once Tommy is released, it remains to be seen whether he will attend divorce proceedings that his estranged wife Ardhia ‘Tata’ Pramesti Regita (31) has initiated against him at South Jakarta Religious Court.
Given his past aversion to court appearances, he might well suffer a relapse of his suspected eye tumor problem if required to give evidence.
Tata filed for divorce on April 13, citing irreconcilable differences. Proceedings commenced on May 15. Tata is seeking custody of their two children, Dharma Mangkuluhur Hutomo (9) and Radhyana Gayanti Hutami (6), and an undisclosed sum of alimony. Tommy has so far refused to attend any hearings, despite being regularly allowed out of jail. Prison officials explain that Tommy has not yet submitted a formal request to attend the court sessions.
Tommy’s lawyers in July requested the case be deferred to give their client more time for attempted reconciliation with his wife. Tata’s lawyer Junimart Girsang was skeptical of the request, saying Tommy had made no effort to communicate with his wife. He said the couple last met in 2000, when Tata visited Tommy at Nusakambangan island jail off the southern coast of Central Java.
He said the request for a delay in proceedings appeared to be a stalling tactic, but added that Tata would be open to reconciliation “provided that certain conditions are met”.
Girsang has rejected rumors that Tata is seeking a lump sum of Rp200 billion ($21.5 million) in alimony. He also denied rumors that Tata wants to end the marriage because of domestic violence. The lawyer has promised to provide witnesses and evidence to prove that Tata deserves a divorce and custody of the children.
On August 14, Tommy’s lawyers presented material evidence to the court in the form of a wedding photo and certain undisclosed documents, but they failed to provide the couple’s wedding certificate. Rumor has it the certificate has been “lost”. This was seen as another stalling tactic, as the certificate must be presented for the record.
Tommy’s relatives, including his nephew Ari Sigit Suharto, have claimed the couple’s relationship is fine. Lawyers have said witnesses will testify on behalf of Tommy when the case resumes on August 28.
Judges handling the case may well be too scared to grant Tata a divorce, given the fact that Tommy will soon be free and has already murdered one judge who ruled against him.
As for the two hitmen who were paid Rp100 million by Tommy to kill the judge, they’re serving life sentences.
By: Roy Tupai | Category: Law