An employee of a manpower company in Medan was sentenced to five years in jail on Monday in a murder case that has shocked the country.
The Medan District Court handed down the verdict against M. Hanafi Bahri, an employee of the company owned by Syamsul Anwar, who is also a suspect in the case.
Presiding judge Nazzar Effriandi said that Hanafi, 18, was guilty of abusing and killing a domestic helper at Syamsul's house.
Separately, M. Thariq Anwar, 17, Syamsul's son, was sentenced to 20 months in prison.
Both defendants received lighter sentences than had been sought by prosecutors, who demanded 10 years for Hanafi and three years and four months for Thariq.
They were tried in separate trials presided over by Nazzar at the juvenile court room of the Medan District Court.
In his verdict, Nazzar said the mitigating factors were that both of them were still young and that they regretted their actions, while the aggravating factor was that they had caused public unrest.
Hanafi was found guilty of committing a joint crime by carrying out violence inside a household that led to death.
Thariq, meanwhile, was proven guilty of committing violence and dumping a body in Kabanjahe, Karo regency.
Nazzar said that based on witness testimonies, Hanafi often abused the housemaids at Syamsul's house. Witness Endang testified that she and victim Cici, alias Hermin, were abused by Hanafi, who ordered them to go up and down the stairs 200 times while hitting them with a feather duster.
He said Hanafi along with his two friends tortured Cici to her death after she spilled water while cleaning the floor.
"The three plunged the victim's head into the watertank twice. Although the victim had fainted, they continued to plunge Cici's head into the water," Nazzar said.
After learning that Cici had died, Nazzar said that Hanafi, aided by Thariq and Syamsul, loaded her body into a car and drove to Kabanjahe.
They dropped the body in Barus Jahe, where it was found by residents before being buried without a name.
Responding to the verdicts, the defendants' lawyer Ibrahim Nainggolan said he was considering an appeal against the court's decision.
"We will think about it. We will consult with the family," Ibrahim said.
Meanwhile, prosecutor Amrizal Fahmi said he was disappointed with the verdict, which was lighter than he had demanded.
"We regret that the judge did not include articles on murder as part of the verdict, just domestic violence. We will consult with our superiors," Fahmi said.
Hanafi and Thariq are the only two of seven suspects in the case to have been tried so far. The five other suspects, including Anwar and his wife Randika, have not been tried and their dossiers are not yet complete.
Police raided Anwar's house at the end of November last year and rescued three maids, who are key witnesses in the case.
Besides Cici, another maid, identified as Yanti, is believed to have been killed by the suspects. The body of Yanti is still being kept at Medan General Hospital morgue.
Several weeks ago, police dug up the floor of Anwar's house and found parts of bones believed to be human.
The Medan Manpower Agency earlier said that Anwar's company had been blacklisted for years and that its operating license had not been extended since its expiry in 2007.
The agency said it had received numerous complaints of criminal activity by the employment company.
Earlier, Medan municipal councilor Hasyim of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) said it would have been impossible for the company to operate safely without a permit had it not had police support.
North Sumatra Police chief Insp. Gen. Eko Hadi Sutedjo said he would not hesitate to take action against police officers who had supported the suspects.