February 14, 2023
JAKARTA – The South Jakarta District Court sentenced on Monday former National Police internal affairs chief Ferdy Sambo to death for the premeditated murder of his own aide-de-camp Brig. Nofriansyah Yosua Hutabarat and for tampering with evidence in orchestrating a cover-up.
The panel of three judges found Ferdy guilty of the two counts. The sentence is much harsher than the life in prison demanded by prosecutors for Ferdy as the principal perpetrator.
The initial narrative surrounding the incident suggested that Yosua was killed at Ferdy’s official residence in South Jakarta in July 2022 in a shoot-out with Richard Eliezer, another aide-de-camp assigned to Ferdy. Richard at the time was an enlisted officer who ranked lower than Yosua.
Judges said on Monday, however, that Ferdy had instead fired a shot into Yosua’s head after Richard had shot Yosua on Ferdy’s command.
“The defendant, who was wearing a glove at the time, walked toward [Yosua who was lying on the floor after being shot by Richard] and shot the victim using a Glock firearm,” presiding Judge Wahyu Imam Santoso said.
Ferdy had said that he ordered Richard to deal with Yosua after his wife Putri Chandrawathi claimed she had been sexually assaulted by Yosua in Magelang, Central Java, the day prior to Yosua’s murder. But Ferdy said he did not plan the murder beforehand.
Judges concluded on Monday that Ferdy’s claim was not backed by convincing evidence. They also questioned why he did not take Putri for a forensic examination for sexual abuse victims to prove the alleged assault despite his experience as a police officer.
“The bench did not find sufficient evidence that Yosua had committed sexual assault or rape,” Wahyu said.
The judges concluded that Ferdy had enlisted the help of accomplices Kuat Ma’ruf, a private chauffeur and domestic assistant with Ferdy’s family, and another aide-de-camp Ricky Rizal, to provide back-up for Ferdy in case Yosua put up resistance in their eventual confrontation.
The judges also said Ferdy had instructed several police officers to destroy any CCTV footage that showed Yosua still alive when Ferdy entered the house, in an attempt to maintain the initial narrative that Yosua was already killed in a shoot-out with Richard when Ferdy arrived.
Judges pointed to the convoluted statements Ferdy had made, his senior role in the police, his involving other officers in his crime and disgracing the police institution as aggravating factors. The three-member bench found no mitigating circumstances for a lighter sentence.
Trials of accomplices
Judges are scheduled later on Monday to hand down their verdict on Putri, who is facing eight years in prison demanded by prosecutors; while Kuat and Ricky will have their verdicts delivered on Wednesday.
Richard, meanwhile, is facing a possible 12 years in prison for his alleged role in the murder, with the court set to read out its verdict on Wednesday. Prosecutors in his case had said their sentence demand would have been greater if Richard had not eventually told investigators about the murder plot and agreed to cooperate with the authorities.
Ferdy’s case is regarded as the biggest scandal to embroil the police to date and has seized the public attention for months. Subsequent public opinion polls following Yosua’s death found plummeting public trust in the police, leading to mounting calls for widespread reforms of the institution.
Ferdy, a two-star police general, was dishonorably discharged in August.