Indonesia: Patrolman says he was ordered to kill fellow officer

Nazarudin Latif and Dandy Koswaraputra
Indonesia: Patrolman says he was ordered to kill fellow officer Riot police stand guard as people protest near the Parliament building in Jakarta, April 11, 2022.
Willy Kurniawan/Reuters

An Indonesian policeman says he killed a fellow officer on the order of his superior, his attorney said Monday, the latest twist in a murder at the home of one of Indonesia’s highest-ranking police officials last month that has transfixed the nation.

The suspect has sought protection from the Victim and Witness Protection Agency, while the man who headed internal affairs for the national police – and at whose home the killing took place – has been sacked and taken into custody for allegedly tampering with evidence.

“[H]e received an order from his superior to shoot,” CNN Indonesia quoted attorney Muhammad Burhanuddin as saying in referring to his client, Second Patrolman Richard Eliezer.

“I can’t name names, but it was from the police statement and information given to his lawyer, he was pressured to shoot, ordered to shoot,” Burhanuddin said.

When contacted by BenarNews, the attorney declined to provide further details, saying, “the case is in the advanced stage of investigation.”

On July 8, Brigadier Yosua Hutabarat was killed at the official residence of Inspector General Ferdy Sambo. In a previous account, police said Eliezer shot Yosua, who was assigned as chauffeur for Sambo’s wife, after he caught Yosua allegedly sexually assaulting her.

Yosua’s relatives and advocates for the family challenged the allegation, claiming the killing was premeditated.

Responding to public skepticism, national police chief Gen. Listyo Sigit Prabowo set up a special team to investigate the case. The team exhumed Yosua’s body and conducted an autopsy involving an independent team of forensic doctors late last month.

Results will be available in late August at the earliest, according to the head of the forensics team, Ade Firmansyah Sugiharto.

Firmansyah said he found several wounds on the victim’s body but he could not yet say how or when they were inflicted. He did not comment on possible gunshot wounds.

“We found a lot of wounds. However, we can’t say whether the injuries occurred after or before death. Even the cause of the injuries couldn’t be established,” he said late last month.

On Saturday, police arrested Sambo, who was sacked last week as head of the national police’s internal affairs division, at the Mobile Brigade headquarters just outside Jakarta. He was taken into custody for allegedly ordering the removal of security cameras around his house after Yosua’s death, national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said.

“After special questioning, it has been determined that Inspector General FS [Sambo] committed a violation related to the unprofessional management of the crime scene,” Dedi told reporters.

Burhanuddin, the attorney for Eliezer, said his client was willing to “cooperate with law enforcement to uncover” the case in accordance with the Witness and Victim Protection law, in exchange for leniency.

Indonesia’s coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, Mohammad Mahfud MD, told Yosua’s father and lawyers last week that the case was “not an ordinary criminal one.”

The day before, Mahfud MD said, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo had called for this case to be investigated thoroughly.

“I will not go into the substance except for one thing, that the president asked that this case be exposed openly,” he said. “Any attempt to hide something will be exposed.” 


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