Indonesia: Police need to explain halting investigation on forest fires -- Lawmaker

Antara 26 Jul 16;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Deputy chairman of Commission III of the House of Representatives Benny K Harman said police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian has to give reason for halting investigation of cases of forest fires involving 15 companies in Riau.

"The police chief has to openly give reasons for issuing order to halt investigations (SP3) of the forest fires," Benny here on Tuesday.

He also asked President Joko Widodo (Jokowi)to summon the police chief to explain the decision to issue SP3 as the cases have national and international dimension.

He said the forest fires have destroyed the environment and claimed lives that the public began to raise question as to "why police is that easy to issue SP3."

He said without immediate explanation, the SPT decision could spawn a lot of prejudices in the public.

"There are already rumor that the president has ordered the police chief to issue the SP3 order on pressure from big companies," he said, adding, therefore, explanation is necessary.

He said the Commission III would monitor the process of how the cases would be handled.

Law enforcement must not be firm only when dealing with ordinary members of the community, he said.

The Riau police chief has issued an order to stop investigation of forest and peat land fires in Riau on "lack of evidence."

Police chief spokesman Ins.Gen. Boy Rafli Amar said police would not take side among companies charged with forest fires that devastated wide rain forests in Riau in 2015.

"I see there are a number of cases going to court. Therefore, not all are stopped with SP3," Boy said.

He said the reason could lack of evidence to charge the 15 companies, adding "we will give full explanation of the SP3 cases.

Earlier, a non governmental organization in Pekanbaru, Riau, asked President Jokowi to evaluate the performance of Riau police chief Brig. Gen. Supriyanto for issuing the SP3 order.

The call by the Riau Forest Safety Work Net (Jikalahari) came when Jokowi summoned all regional police chiefs and heads of high prosecution office to Jakarta to hear the presidents evaluation of their performance over the past year.

Jikalahari said the Riau police chief has issued SP3 on 11 of 18 companies accused of setting fires on forest and peat lands in the province last year.

The 11 companies are PT Bumi Daya Laksana, PT Siak Raya Timber, PT Perawang Sukses Perkasa Industri, PT Hutani Sola Lestari, PT Bukit Raya Pelalawan, KUD Bina Jaya Langgam (HTI), PT Pan United, PT Riau Jaya Utama, PT Alam Lestari, PT Parawira and PT Langgam Inti Hibrido, Coordinator of the organization Woro Supartinah said.

So far there were only two cases were brought to court and the suspects were individuals instead of the corporations.

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