23 February 2023 :
A former police general found guilty of ordering the killing of his bodyguard and covering up the murder was sentenced to death by a Jakarta court on 13 February 2023. The decision brings closure to one of the largest criminal trials in Indonesian history. But in a country known for police impunity, experts have cautioned against taking the judgment as a sign of serious reform.
Ferdy Sambo, the former head of the Profession and Security Division of the Indonesian National Police, was found “legally and convincingly guilty” of premeditated murder, South Jakarta District Court Judge Wahyu Iman Santoso said in his judgment on 13 February.
On July 8, Sambo ordered one of his subordinates to shoot 27-year-old Nofriansyah Yosua Hutabarat, a police officer who served as his bodyguard and driver. Sambo would claim that Yosua sexually assaulted his wife, though the claim was later dismissed by the court.
As Yosua writhed in pain after being shot, Sambo, who was wearing black gloves, picked up a gun and shot the back of Yosua’s head to “make sure he was really dead,” prosecutors told the court in October. He then proceeded to destroy CCTV footage to cover up the murder. Sambo also fired extra shots into a wall to give the scene the appearance of a gunfight, the court heard from witness accounts.
Sambo and investigators initially claimed that Yosua had died in a shootout with another officer. But attempts by police to stop Yosua’s family from viewing his body, as well as suspicions over multiple bruises on his corpse, led his family to file a police report claiming he was the victim of premeditated murder.
Sambo’s wife and other accomplices were also convicted this week for their roles in the murder. His wife was sentenced 20 years in jail on 13 February, while her personal assistant received 15 years. Sambo’s aide was given 13 years in jail, while the police officer who shot Yosua is expected to receive his sentence this week. It’s unclear if Sambo will appeal his sentence.
As public pressure mounted in the Yosua murder case, Sambo and six other police officers suspected of tampering with evidence were dishonorably discharged in August last year. The public prosecutor had asked for life imprisonment for Sambo in January, arguing that his behavior had tainted the reputation of the national police force locally and internationally.