One of the many peculiarities of the Indonesian legal system that sometimes surprises foreigners is that defendants convicted in lower courts can actually have their sentences increased upon appeal. While some may question the justice in that (and it has led to some widely criticized decisions) others may think the possibility of increased penalty on appeal to be proper in certain circumstances, especially for certain individuals.
For example, we doubt many will voice any concern over today’s news that the Supreme Court has added six months to lawyer Fredrich Yunadi’s seven-year sentence for obstruction of justice upon his appeal, considering the overwhelming evidence that the former celebrity defense lawyer tried to help one of the country’s most corrupt politicians escape justice.
Fredrich was a key player in the downfall of his ex-client, former Golkar chairman Setya Novanto, who was sentenced to 15 years in jail last April for his role in the massive e-KTP (electronic ID card) corruption scandal.
Fredrich was convicted by the Jakarta Corruption Court in June of engineering an infamous fake car accident and subsequent hospital stay for Novanto as part of a ploy to avoid arrest by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in November 2017. Doctors and other hospital staff testified that Fredrich had attempted to make Novanto’s injuries seem more severe than they actually were. One of the hospital’s physicians, Dr. Bimanesh Sutarjo, was also convicted and sentenced to three years for his involvement in the scam.
In their decision, the Supreme Court’s panel of judges said they were convinced that Fredrich deliberately tried to prevent, obstruct and thwart the investigation being carried out by the KPK against Setya Novanto and said the addition to his sentence was justified given the severity of his actions.