Problems pile up for controversial Judge Sarpin

Problems pile up for controversial Judge Sarpin

South Jakarta District Court Judge Sarpin Rizaldi appears to be in more trouble with additional members of civil society organisations taking action against his controversial pretrial decision on Monday in favour of National Police chief candidate Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan.

On Friday, a coalition of civil society organisations filed a report with the Supreme Court (MA) against what it deemed as an ethics violation committed by Sarpin.

The coalition considered Sarpin had gone beyond his authority in challenging the Corruption Eradication Commission's (KPK) decision to name Budi a graft suspect.

"There are two counts of violations. First, he overstepped his authority and he used his personal interpretation of the Criminal Law Procedures Code [KUHAP]," said the coalition's Miko Ginting, after filing the complaint with the MA oversight body on Friday.

The coalition called on the MA to hand down punishment to Sarpin, commensurate with his error in judgement.

In a pretrial hearing presided solely by Sarpin, the court annulled the suspect status slapped on Budi by the KPK in relation to bribery allegations.

Although a pretrial hearing has no authority to determine the validity of a suspect's status, as stipulated in the Criminal Code (KUHP), Sarpin argued that the legality of naming an individual a suspect was an appropriate object of examination in such a hearing.

Sarpin also argued that the KPK's determining of Budi as a suspect was not valid and not based upon the law because Budi accepted gifts that caused no state losses.

He also said the KPK had no authority to investigate alleged graft cases involving Budi when he served as the National Police's Career Development Bureau head, an Echelon II position.

Citing Law No. 30/2002 on the KPK, the judge said the agency only had the authority to investigate alleged corruption involving state officials with Echelon I positions as well as law enforcers.

A number of activists earlier filed a report against Sarpin with the Judicial Commission (KY).

Sarpin has previously been reported to the KY for allegedly accepting bribes with regard to a number of controversial rulings he made in the past.

The controversial rulings include his decision to acquit a former Ciracas subdistrict head, whom prosecutors said deserved a seven-year prison term for graft.

He was also deemed as too lenient in handing down a prison term to two drug convicts in 2008.

The KY has said some of the reports are unsubstantiated and that it is still working to find evidence for any of Sarpin's alleged wrongdoings.

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