Lovebirds face life sentences for murder

Lovebirds face life sentences for murder
Couple on trial: Assyifa Ramadhani (left) and her boyfriend, Ahmad Imam Al Hafitd (right, sitting), attend their first trial hearing at the Central Jakarta District Court on Tuesday. Assyifa and Hafitd are accused of killing their former classmate, Ade Sara Angelina Suroto. The victim was once Hafitd’s girlfriend.

Young couple Ahmad Imam Al Hafitd and Assyifa Ramadhani, who are standing trial at the Central Jakarta District Court charged with murdering 19 year-old Ade Sara Angelina Suroto, face life sentences if they are found guilty.

The two defendants were not accompanied by their lawyers, but the family and friends of the victim, Sara, wore T-shirts with her face on them as they sat in the courtroom.

During the hearing, state prosecutors indicted 18-year-old Hafitd and his girlfriend, Assyifa, separately under multiple articles of the Criminal Code (KUHP). Article 340 of the KUHP stipulates 20 years' imprisonment to life for premeditated murder.

The prosecutors said the suspects might also be charged under articles 338 and 353 on murder and assault. These articles stipulate maximum prison terms of 15 and 10 years, respectively.

"Hafitd and Assyifa are facing multiple charges, having planned and committed the murder of the victim, Ade Sara, in an area that comes under the jurisdiction of the Central Jakarta District Court," lead prosecutor Aji Susanto said.

Hafitd, Assyifa and Sara had each graduated from the same public high school in East Jakarta last year.

According to Aji, the two defendants tortured Sara for hours in Hafitd's car on March 3 - gagging, electrocuting and beating her to death - after picking her up from an extracurricular class at the Goethe Institute in Central Jakarta. After murdering Sara, they dumped her body on the Bintara toll road in Bekasi, where it was found two days later.

An autopsy carried out at the Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital in Central Jakarta suggested that Sara had died from suffocation, as there was clotting in her oral cavity and an indication that she had difficulty breathing.

Aji maintained that Hafitd and Assyifa had intentionally killed Sara, as Hafitd wanted to assure Assyifa that he no longer had feelings for Sara, who was his ex-girlfriend.

Hafitd was also angry at Sara because she had cut all contact with him. The evidence, Aji said, suggested that her murder was planned at least a week before it was executed.

When the prosecutors read out the indictments, Assyifa burst into tears, while Hafitd lowered his head without making a sound.

New information was introduced during the court session, as prosecutors quoted Hafitd and Assyifa as claiming that Sara had confessed to being two-months pregnant with a child fathered by one of their peers who was at university. Sara's parents denied the claim, however, and added that the contents read out in the affidavits were totally different to earlier draft versions that they had been shown.

"The autopsy showed she was not pregnant. She had her period just one week before it happened," Sara's father, Suroto, told reporters after the trial session.

After court was adjourned, Sara's mother, Elisabeth Diana, approached the two defendants to offer them moral support. She said all she wanted was for the truth to come out and for justice to be upheld following the death of her daughter.

"I don't want them to face the heaviest sentence because they already know what they did was wrong. As a mother who has lost her child, I don't want any other children to suffer. I just want the truth," she said.

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