Court acquits three accused in journalist’s slay

Source: AJI

Three men charged with the murder of TV journalist, Ridwan Salamun, were acquitted on 9 March 2011 by the district court of Tual, Maluku, a province in Indonesia.

The defendants—Hasan Tamange, Ibrahim Raharusun, and Sahar Renuat—were accused of killing Sun TV contributor Ridwan Salamun on 21 August 2010 while he was covering a clash between residents of two villages in Maluku.

The public attorney of Tual District initially charged the three with murder but later changed the indictment to “committing persecution” against Ridwan, calling only for eight months’ imprisonment. But as the public attorney “could not prove that the defendants had committed the crime”, the judge acquitted them.

The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) expressed its dissatisfaction at the court’s decision. “This is evidence of a culture of impunity which the state encourages among journalists’ killers”, the group said.

“Impunity for journalists’ killers is an indication that the state does not have the will to protect journalists,” said Nezar Patria, AJI president.

AJI said it has on 10 March filed, along with other media groups, complaints before the Judiciary Commission and the Public Prosecutors’ Commission because of the alleged lack of independence and professionalism in the trial.

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The Allansi Jurnalis Independen (Alliance of Independent Journalists or AJI) (http://ajiindonesia.org) is a founding member of SEAPA. Based in Jakarta, Indonesia, AJI seeks to promote press freedom and protect the rights of Indonesian journalists.