Court finds land buyer guilty of libel
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 07/15/2009 4:25 PM
The East Jakarta District Court Wednesday found a land buyer, Kho Seng Seng alias Aseng, guilty of defaming property giant PT Duta Pertiwi Tbk for writing a complaint about the firm in a newspaper.
The convict, however, will only serve a one-year probation sentence. He will be jailed for six months if he makes another defamatory statement against the company, presiding Judge Robinson Tarigan said.
The verdict received relentless boos from the audience, who had expected Aseng’s acquittal after another court recently found a housewife not guilty in a libel case in Tangerang.
Aseng, along with two other tenants, wrote a complaint letter to various dailies, saying PT Duta Pertiwi had sold them land that actually belonged to the regional authorities. Aseng's letter was published in Kompas newspaper in 2006.
The company sued him under Article 311 of the Criminal Code on libel.
"I am very disappointed," Aseng said after the trial. "The trial procedures were flawed and the judges’ logic was outrageous."
Adiani Viviana, one of Aseng's legal advocates, said her team would appeal the decision in the High Court.
"But we heard rumors the judges who found Aseng guilty would be promoted to the High Court. We are afraid our client will get the same treatment then," she said.