Soldier among suspects in last week's murder of North Sumatra journalist

JPPN – June 25, 2021
Simalungun police examine Mara Salem Harahap's car – June 19, 2021 (Antara)

Pematang Siantar – North Sumatra regional police have arrested three people over the murder of Mara Salem Harahap or Marsal (42), a Media Online journalist in Simalungun regency, North Sumatra, who was shot dead on June 18.

Police said that three people have been declared suspects, namely YFP (31), S (57), a resident of Pematangsiantar city, and A, a TNI (Indonesian military) officer who carried out the shooting.

This was conveyed by North Sumatra regional police chief Inspector General RZ Panca Putra Simanjuntak, who was accompanied by the commander of the Bukit Barisan I Regional Military Command (Kodam), Major General Hassanudin, during a press conference on the afternoon of Thursday June 24.

Simanjuntak revealed that the case began when the suspect S was offended over a news report by the victim on the distribution of narcotics at an entertainment venue owned by S.

S then ordered some people to teach the victim a lesson. But a shot to Harahap's upper thigh hit an artery resulting in massive blood loss and death.

Simanjuntak added that the victim is alleged to have written about S's place of business because he was not given a bribe of 12 million rupiah a month or two ecstasy pills a day, the value of which is estimated to be 200,000 rupiah per tablet.

Police have confiscated material evidence in the form of a pistol and six live rounds which were buried by one of the suspects near a graveyard in order to hide the evidence, as well as an air rifle, the victim's car, a motorcycle and machete.

A ballistics test on the bullet in the victim's thigh was found to match the bullets and pistol seized by police and used to shoot the victim.

According to Simanjuntak, the case was solved thanks to cooperation with the regional police and the Bukit Barisan Kodam and after investigators question 57 eyewitnesses.

The suspects, said the two-star police general, have been indicted under Article 340 sub-article 338 in conjunction with Articles 55 and 56 of the Criminal Code (KUHP) which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment or death.

During the press conference Simanjuntak expressed his thanks for the support of journalists in helping solve the murder.

Harahap was shot dead in his car at midnight on Friday June 18 as he was returning home. The victim's home is located at Huta VII in Nagori Karang Anyar, Gunung Malela sub-district, Simalungun regency. (antara/jpnn)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Eksekutor Pembunuhan Wartawan di Simalungun Ternyata Oknum TNI".]