Tiger skin traders get four years in prison

Tiger skin traders get four years in prison
Riau Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) staff examine the body of a Sumatran tiger killed by poachers in September 2010.
PHOTO: The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

Two defendants being tried for selling Sumatran tiger skins were each sentenced to four years in prison on Tuesday at Rengat District Court in Riau.

The sentence was higher than the prosecutors' demand of three years.

The defendants, Muzainul Achyar bin Muhaimi, 51, and Joko Sujarwanto bin Hadi, 38, were found guilty by the panel of judges comprising presiding judge Agus Akhyudi, Immanuel Sirait and Omori Sitorus.

The panel also ordered each defendant to pay Rp 100 million (S$10640) in fines.

"Should the defendants fail to pay the fines, they have to substitute it with one [additional] month in jail," Agus said.

The court found the two men had one Sumatran tiger skin that they were intending to sell for Rp 80 million.

"Both violated Article 21, clauses 2 and 4 of Law No. 5/1990 on conservation of natural resources and their ecosystems," Agus said.

"We gave a heavy sentence to provide a deterrent effect for others," he said.

Achyar and Joko were caught in Indragiri Hulu regency in September last year by a joint team of personnel from the Riau Police, the Environment and Forestry Ministry's law enforcement unit and Jambi's Natural Resources Conservation Agency.

Members of the team went undercover as potential buyers for the pelt.

The tiger was suspected to have been hunted in Bukit Tigapuluh National Park in Riau and Jambi provinces.

Achyar said he thought the sentence was too harsh because he was a middleman, not a hunter.

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