Indonesia: 2.5 years sought for ivory traders in Riau

Rizal Harahap The Jakarta Post 22 Sep 16;

Prosecutors have demanded two-and-a-half years' imprisonment for five ivory traders in Pekanbaru, Riau. They also sought a fine of Rp 15 million (US$1,142.16) for each of the defendants, or an additional six months in prison.

The prosecutors said all of the defendants had violated Article 40 of Law No.5/1990 on the conservation of natural resources and the ecosystem and Article 55 of the Criminal Code.

“The defendants also acknowledged the roles they had played [in wildlife trading] as stated in their indictment documents,” said Wilsa, one of the prosecutor team, during a trial session at Pekanbaru District Court on Tuesday afternoon.

“Factors that made their charges heavier were that they had traded wildlife body parts and damaged the ecosystem of rare animals protected by law. Meanwhile, what could mitigate their charges was that they were polite during their trial and had not previously been involved in any crime.”

Based on the prosecutors’ indictment documents, the five defendants, identified only as Ma’ruf, Nizam Akbar, Syafrimen, Wartono and Yusuf, were arrested by personnel from the Riau Police’s special crime investigation directorate in a luxury restaurant in Pekanbaru on May 23. They were waiting for the buyers of two elephant tusks they were offering. It was estimated the tusks, which are 170 centimeters long and weigh around 46 kilograms each, were selling for Rp 1 billion.

“We also hope the judges' panel can make a decision for the confiscation of the evidence, which we will hand over to the Natural Resources and Conservation Agency [BKSDA] so they can be used for research and scientific purposes,” said the prosecutors. (ebf)


5 Riau residents declared guilty of illegal ivory trade
Rizal Harahap The Jakarta Post 28 Sep 16;

The Pekanbaru District Court’s (PN) judge panel imposed prison sentences to five Riau residents proven guilty in the illegal trading of elephant ivory.

Two defendants, Syafriman, 61, and Ma’ruf, 45, were sentenced to two years' imprisonment and ordered to pay Rp 10 million (US$770.62) in fines or face an additional four months in prison.

Meanwhile, three other defendants, Yusuf, 41, Wartono, 44, and Nizam, 43, were sentenced to 1.5 years in prison and Rp 10 million in fines or face an additional four months’ imprisonment.

“The defendants have been proven guilty of violating Articles 40 and 21 of Law No.5/1990 on the conservation of natural resources and their ecosystem and Article 55 of the Criminal Code,” said presiding judge Sorta Ria Neva during the trial on Tuesday.

The verdicts were lower than sentences sought by prosecutors from the Pekanbaru Prosecutor's Office, in which they asked the judge panel to sentence the defendants to 2.5 years in prison and order them to pay Rp 15 million in fines or face an additional six months in prison.

“Among factors mitigating the defendants is the fact that they have never been sentenced before for committing crimes. Meanwhile, some aspects that made their sentences heavier are their actions, which have damaged the ecosystem and threatened the sustainability of protected species,” said Sorta.

“The defendants also enjoyed operational costs, although two elephant tusks, which are 170 centimeters long and weigh around 46 kilograms each, that they wanted to sell at Rp 20 million per kg had not yet been sold.”

The five defendants, who were not accompanied by any lawyer since their first hearing, accepted the verdicts. (ebf)

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