Prosecutor demands 10 months for student charged with insulting president

Tempo Interactive – May 12, 2005
Syarif Hidayatullah UIN student Bay Harkat Jonday Firdaus (Liputan 6)
Syarif Hidayatullah UIN student Bay Harkat Jonday Firdaus (Liputan 6)

Ayu Cipta-Tempo, Jakarta – Bay Harkat Jonday Firdaus, a sixth semester English literature student from the faculty of culture and humanities at the Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University (UIN) in Ciputat, South Jakarta, could face 10 months jail for insulting the head of state.

The public prosecutor, Hassanudin, told the panel of judges presided over by Judge Supriyono on Thursday that the actions of the defendant violated Articles 134 of the Criminal Code (KUHP) on insulting the head of state.

“What makes it worse for the defendant is his actions in burning a photograph of the president and vice-president demeaned the prestige of the nation”, said Hassanudin. In the defendant’s favour meanwhile, he has had no prior convictions and has been well behaved during the trial.

Jonday was arrested and detained in December 2004. Police caught him after setting fire to a poster with a picture of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice-president Jusuf Kalla. The incident occurred during a break in a demonstration opposing increases to fuel prices at the UIN campus.

Jonday will prepare his defense speech that will be read to the court next week. The trial was marred by a student demonstration demanding that Jonday be released. Scores of demonstrators tried to force their way into the courtroom but were blocked by police.

[Translated by James Balowski.]