Prosecutors: Judges Held Hostage by Public Opinion
Rata Penuh
Tuesday, the trial of Antasari Azhar for the murder of Nasrudin Zulkarnaen, director of PT Putra Rajawali Banjaran, continued with the prosecution's counterplea. The prosecutors started by addressing the defense team's previous argument which was themed "Public Prosecutor's Imagination Leads to Death Punishment Request", stating that they objected to the word 'Imagination'. They also protested that the defense team's overall strategy is steering public opinion against finding truth and justice.

"Such a strong word, Imagination," said the public prosecutor. The prosecution team objected because the term implied that their accusations and theories were without factual base. They demanded that at the end of the trial, Antasari's defense team should take back that word, and they continued by pointing out that Antasari's statements so far have been insubstantial, and that he only emphazised more on his own worries and accomplishments.

The insubstantial matters, among which are, the statements from Antasari himself and from Wiliardi Wizar. The prosecutors believe that Antasari, as the accused, naturally would deny his own fault, and Wiliardi has his own interest since he is also an accused for the same case, though tried separately.

Public Opinion

The prosecutors stated their concern that the defense team is trying to steer public opinion, among which, with their 'imagination' argument and by putting forward insubstantial matters, by making press conferences and interactive shows with the media. They believe that the defense is "trying to build public opinion to kill the truth, - if the media isn't perceptive enough." By influencing the media and public they accuse the defense team of holding the panel of judges hostage to public opinion.

Separately in a previous article in, Arief Hidayat, the dean of the legal faculty of Diponegory University, Semarang, also commented that even the prosecutor isn't immune to public opinion. "Public opinion arises because this case isn't just a criminal one, but also latent with politics," he commented regarding the death sentence requested for Antasari by the prosecutors, implying that if Antasari weren't such a famous political figure, perhaps he wouldn't be threatened with capital punishment.

After a lengthy explanation, debunking all the defense team's previous arguments and also refusing to answer matters that are considered insubstantial, the public prosecutor, Cyrus Sinaga, finally stated for his team, "We, the public prosecutors, state that in this trial we maintain the charge as we have stated in the trial on Tuesday, January 19, 2010."

Presiding judge Herri Swantoro adjourned the trial until Friday, February 5, 2010, around 1.30 pm, for the defense team's to deliver their rejoinder.