Jessica Kumala Wongso, in an orange shirt, appears in a police re-enactment of the crime she is accused of at the cafe in Grand Indonesia where Wayan Mirna Salihin drank the cyanide-laced iced coffee that caused her death. (Antara Photo/Widodo S. Jusuf)

Jakarta Police Chief Warns Against Trial by Media in Cyanide Coffee Case


MARCH 03, 2016

Jakarta. The Jakarta Police chief has warned about a "trial by media" in the case of 27-year-old Wayan Mirna Salihin, who was killed after drinking cyanide-laced coffee in a story of murder and friendship that has gripped the nation.

Netizens and members of the mass media continue to offer up different scenarios that may explain the motive behind the tragedy, as investigators focus on building their case against suspect Jessica Kumala Wongso, who has been charged with premeditated murder.

Even evidence and expert witness testimonies have been splayed across various news platforms, fostering suspicions of Jessica's guilt.

"Members of the press should not be encouraging a trial by media," Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian said. "I call on the media to refrain from making any conclusions.


"The evidence will be presented in court, not in the media," the police chief added. "Just let the court decide."

Police named 27-year-old Jessica a suspect in late January. Her friend Mirna, also 27, died shortly after suffering convulsions on Jan. 6 at a cafe in Grand Indonesia shopping mall after taking a sip of her iced coffee.

Lab testing confirmed traces of cyanide inside her stomach, as well as in her drink, which was ordered by Jessica, who had arrived at the cafe almost an hour earlier.