2 underage suspects in murder of Persija fan ask to be sent to religious school instead of prison

Haringga Sirla. Photo: Twitter
Haringga Sirla. Photo: Twitter

Two suspects in the fatal beating of Persija Jakarta fan Haringga Sirla in Bandung last month are currently on trial for murder. The suspects, who are still underage, are seeking dispensation from the maximum punishment for the crime.

Lawyers representing the two underage suspects, identified by their initials SN (17) and DN (16), today read out a plea asking that their clients be exempted from serving time in prison on account of their young ages after prosecutors previously demanded they serve four years in prison.

“We pleaded with the court to give them suspended sentences or to send them to pesantren (religious school),” SN and DN’s lawyer, Dadang Sukmawijaya, told Detik after the conclusion of the closed-door trial session at the Bandung District Court today.

Dadang said that his clients confessed to taking part in assaulting Haringga, but only after the other suspects — all adults — initiated it.

Fourteen people, including SN and DN, have been named murder suspects in Haringga’s case, but only the two youngsters have gone on trial.

The case prosecutors initially argued that SN and DN committed murder under Article 170 of the KUHP (Criminal Code), which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, but more than halved that for their recommended sentence in accordance with juvenile justice practices.

According to the Bandung Police, 23-year-old soccer fan Haringga went to the West Java capital on Sept. 23 to watch his team, Persija, take on their traditional rivals Persib. Once in Bandung, he met up with his friend, a resident of the city, and went to the Gelora Bandung Lautan Api (GBLA) stadium.

Once there, the two crossed paths with a group of Persib fans who were doing a “sweeping” patrol around the stadium demanding that people show them their ID cards to make sure there were no Persija fans in the area. Haringga was the unfortunate Persija fan netted in that sweep.

Videos of the assault on Haringga went viral online. In one disturbing clip, Haringga is seen being savagely beaten to a bloody pulp by Persib supporters — several small children included —  as they chant songs telling him to “go home”.

Since 2012, seven people from both sides of the Persija-Persib rivalry have been killed in violent attacks by rival supporters.

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