Former Constitutional Court Judge Patrialis Akbar sentenced to 8 years in prison for accepting bribe

Patrialis Akbar, once a judge at the highest court in Indonesia, has been handed an 8-year prison sentence by the Corruption Court (Tipikor) for accepting a bribe in a graft case.

Patrialis, a famously conservative judge during his time at the Constitutional Court, was found guilty of accepting a bribe of at least $50,000 from Basuki Hariman, a businessman who wished to see a judicial review on a livestock regulation be approved by the Constitutional Court.

“The defendant has been rightly proven to be guilty of corruption in an organized manner,” said Tipikor head judge Nawawi Pamulango during the trial hearing, as quoted by Kompas today.

The Tipikor judges said Patrialis’ actions went against the government’s crackdown on corruption and harmed the reputation of the Constitutional Court. However, the judges’ sentence was lighter than the punishment previously demanded by the case prosecutors, which had asked for a 12.5 year sentence.

Basuki, as well as an intermediary between him and Patrialis, was sentenced to 7 years in prison.

During Patrialis’ trial, it emerged that Basuki had also promised the former judge an additional Rp 2 billion, money which was going to pay for an apartment for a young woman that Patrialis was acquainted with (the woman admitted in court that Patrialis had already bought her a car, clothes, and given her money).

This implication of adultery in Patrialis’ case represents an astonishing level of hypocrisy on the part of the famously conservative judge. As one of the judges overseeing an ongoing judicial review filed by conservative Islamic groups seeking to rewrite Indonesia’s laws to make all sex outside of marriage illegal, Patrialis has often appeared to be less an impartial arbiter of the law than an eager proponent for the petitioners’ case, often using religious reasoning to support the idea that Indonesian law should criminalize adultery.

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