Bodyguard’s death: Indonesian police general suspended

Inspector-general Ferdy Sambo has been suspended while investigations are ongoing. PHOTO: ANDI SIAHAAN/TWITTER

JAKARTA - The family of a slain bodyguard alleged to have had an affair with the wife of a police general said on Monday (July 18) that his death was a premeditated murder, and the injuries on his body were not consistent with an earlier police statement that Mr Nopryansyah Yosua Hutabarat had died in a one-on-one gun fight with another policeman.

In the meantime, Inspector-General Ferdy Sambo, the 49-year-old head of the national police internal affairs division, has been suspended while investigations are ongoing, said national police chief Listyo Sigit Prabowo on Monday night, following mounting public pressure that the two-star general be removed from his post.

Lawyers representing the family of Mr Nopryansyah, 27, demanded a second autopsy, arguing police only acknowledged bullet wounds on Mr Nopryansyah, while photos of the deceased's body showed a range of bruises and cuts, indicating he was violently attacked by more than two persons.

"Right shoulder, jaw were dislocated, teeth were messed up, cut wounds in various places including on the lips, nose, under the eyes, in the back of his ear, hand, and foot… bruises on the stomach and chest," Mr Kamarudin Simanjuntak, one of the lawyers, told reporters after filing a report to the police on Monday.

Asked about the alleged affair last Friday, South Jakarta police chief Budhi Herdi Susianto told reporters there was no evidence pointing to that claim, adding that the matter was a "bit sensitive" and details could not be disclosed because of ongoing investigation.

Mr Nopryansyah, a police sniper, had been assigned as a guard to Mr Ferdy's family. On July 8, he drove Mr Ferdy and his wife, Ms Putri Candrawathi, from Magelang, East Java province to the general's official residence in Jakarta.

Police say that Mr Nopryansyah walked into a bedroom on the first floor a little later in the afternoon where Ms Putri, who is in her 40s, was resting and sexually harassed her. Mr Ferdy was not in the house at that point.

Ms Putri is alleged to have shouted and another family bodyguard, known only by his initial E., rushed downstairs where a close-range gun fight ensued, with Mr Nopryansyah firing the first shot.

Police only disclosed the incident three days later, a point deemed as irregular by Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Mahfud MD, as Indonesian police commonly announce significant incidents within a day. Mr Mahfud also questioned why the police had not allowed the family to see the body earlier.

The lawyer, Mr Kamarudin, also said the police chronology of events was incoherent, questioning why the other guard had sustained no injury in a close-range gun fight where the other man, a sniper, had fired first.

"This calls for explanation. A sniper (Nopryansyah) fired seven shots and none of them hit the target, while E. fired five shots, four of which hit the target and as a result, there were seven bullet wounds on Nopryansyah. This is miraculous," Mr Kamarudin said.

Criminologist Muhammad Mustofa of the University of Indonesia told The Straits Times that forensic and ballistic investigations need to be conducted by parties outside the police force to ensure neutrality, and brush aside growing doubts of the validity of the investigation.

"Judging from those many wounds - if the claim of the wounds is valid - whoever did it had enormous anger towards the victim. He did not merely mean to kill," Mr Mustofa said.

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