JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Indonesian Embassy in the United Kingdom revealed late on Monday (Jan 6) that it had followed the notorious case of Reynhard Sinaga for the past three years to ensure he was afforded the full extent of his rights and protections as an Indonesian citizen.
The embassy had kept a low profile in its involvement in the case of 36-year-old Sinaga, who was sentenced by a Manchester court to life in jail on 136 accounts of rape, eight accounts of attempted rape, 13 accounts of sexual assault and two accounts of sexual assault with penetration.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has called him "the worst-known sex offender in the country's history" for the assault or rape of at least 195 men and for attacking "scores more" since moving to Britain as a student in 2007, AFP reports.
The Manchester Crown Court ruling went viral at the start of the week after reports began trickling in, but in a statement distributed late on Monday, the embassy in London said it had been assisting in the case since 2017.
Sinaga, the embassy stated, had been tried in four separate trials before the judges ruled him guilty and sentenced him to life imprisonment with a chance of parole after 30 years.
He was afforded legal assistance in court and was appointed legal counsel, the embassy said.
It also facilitated consular visits and meetings with family and lawyers while in detention.
"The efforts were carried out to ensure Reynhard was afforded the full extent of his rights to protection and a fair trial in the UK justice system," it said.
Through its Twitter account @cpsuk on Monday, the Royal Prosecutor's Office claimed to have spent more than 1,000 hours sifting through evidence to bring Sinaga to justice.
"I'm pleased we overcame his ludicrous defence and achieved guilty verdicts on all 159 counts," said CPS deputy chief Ian Rushton.
The case has sparked a wave of shock and contempt online, both in Britain and Indonesia.
Ms Beth Abbit, a Manchester-based journalist who has followed the case for the past 18 months said via her Twitter account: "I was utterly shocked by what I heard. The young men who testified against vile rapist Reynhard Sinaga showed immense bravery and the @gmpolice officers who brought him to justice did an incredible job."
Twitter user @mitatweets said: "(The) Reynhard Sinaga case risks being spun by Indonesians to blame gays and Brits to blame immigrants instead of focusing on the real and only problem: rape."
Sinaga was arrested in 2017 after one of his victims was able to hand one of his mobile phones to the police.
The CPS said its investigators discovered 3.29 terabytes of graphic content of sexual assault, equivalent to 250 DVDs or 300,000 photos. One of the assaults lasted eight hours.