Religious figure in Bali sentenced to 4 years and 6 months in prison for sexual assault

Photo for illustration purpose only.
Photo for illustration purpose only.

A religious figure in Bali has been sentenced to four years and six months in prison after he was found guilty of sexual assault. 

The convict, a 38-year-old man named I Wayan Mahardika, was found guilty of violating Article 289 in Indonesia’s criminal code (KUHP) on sexual assault yesterday. 

“[Thereby] sentencing the defendant I Wayan Mahardika with 4 years and 6 months imprisonment, reduced by the amount of time he has been temporarily detained,” presiding judge I Made Pasek said at the Denpasar District Court.

The court mentioned two incriminating considerations in the case: Mahardika’s status as a respected spiritual guru and how the case had troubled Bali’s Hindu population. 

Mahardika was arrested in March for sexual assault allegations concerning a 33-year-old woman, which reportedly occurred during a religious ceremony last July. At the time, Mahardika maintained his innocence while the victim said that Mahardika, who is a sulinggih, or holy man, assaulted her during a purification ritual, called melukat, in Gianyar regency.

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