Jakarta. High-profile lawyer Otto Cornelis Kaligis has had his prison sentence increased for the second time after the Supreme Court on Wednesday (10/08) decided to give him ten years in jail instead of the initial seven for facilitating the bribery of judges at a Medan court last year.
"Kaligis's sentence has been raised from seven to ten years," said Supreme Court judge Khrisna Harahap in Jakarta, adding that the prominent lawyer was also ordered to pay Rp500 million in fines or serve additional six months in exchange.
Prior to this ruling, Kaligis’s jail term had already been increased from five and a half years to seven years by the Jakarta High Court on June 3.
Kaligis was found guilty of giving a total of $30,000 in bribes to judges Tripeni Irianto Putro and Amir Fauzi, and clerk Syamsir Yusfan at the Medan State Administrative Court to rule in favor of his client, Ahmad Fuad Lubis, the treasurer of the North Sumatra provincial administration.
The bribery was masterminded by the province’s suspended governor, Gatot Pujo Nugroho, to cover up for the embezzlement of social aid funds from the provincial budget.
Kaligis’s lawyer Humphrey Djemat responded to the ruling by casting doubt on the Supreme Court's objectivity in the case, since its chairman Artidjo Alkostar once told commissioners of the anti-graft agency Corruption Eradication Commission, or KPK, that he could not wait to adjudicate Kaligis at the court.
"How could a Supreme Court judge say such a thing before he read the dossier on the case?" said Humphrey.
Humprey said a shorter jailtime for Kaligis would enable him to return sooner to the universities where he teaches and shares his wealth of knowledge. He added that the judgement was also "cruel," considering Kaligis's age, 74 this year.
Responding to the decision, KPK deputy chairman Laode M. Syarif said people with a good knowledge of the law like Kaligis should be given a heavier sentence when they break it to set an example for the public. "I agree with the Supreme Court's decision, their reasoning is very sound," said Laode.