The indictment against Ahmad Nuryamin, 35, said a forensic test done on the victim’s “dead body” had shown stab wounds. But the defense counsel had argued that the victim, 15-year-old Rendi Apriansyah from neighboring Pasar Salasa village, was alive and only wounded — not dead.
In their response to last week’s defense statement at the court in Cibinong, Bogor, the team of prosecutors on Wednesday admitted to the mistake. “We admit that we were careless,” Prosecutor Nuraeni Aco told the court.
However, Nuraeni said the defendant was carrying a knife at the time of the incident and that the prosecutors would leave it to the court to decide whether he stabbed the victim or not.
“We believe it was suspicious for Nuryamin to have a knife with him at nighttime, because farmers don’t work at night,” she said.
Nuryamin has argued that, as a farmer, he carried the knife every day and that the victim had bumped into him in the confusion and darkness during the Oct. 1 attack by a mob of mainstream Muslims on Cisalada, a village that is home to some 600 members of the Ahmadiyah community. He said his knife had still been in its sheath at the time of the alleged attack.
“Rendi himself could not rightly identify the suspect,” Muhammad Isnur, a member of the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) and Nuryamin’s legal counsel, told reporters after the hearing. “First he said it was a long-bearded old man with a white shirt. The police arrested two elderly men, neither of whom carried a sharp weapon,” he said.
Police attention fell upon Nuryamin after a boy’s report that he had overheard him saying that he might have stabbed someone.
Nuryamin was arrested for questioning three days later.
He signed a confession that he had stabbed Rendi during the night of the attack when hundreds of assailants burned and looted homes, schools and a mosque in Cisalada.
But the defendant, who faces up to 10 years in jail for assault on a minor, claims he only signed the confession after being tortured by two police officers.
Nuryamin’s mother, Rohmatika, said that after he had been interrogated by the police, “I saw his face was full of bruises, his lips were bleeding and he had difficulty hearing.”
Judge Eddy Wibisono adjourned the trial to Jan. 27 to hear the prosecutors’ reply.
A different panel of judges at the same court on Wednesday heard the case of three teenagers who allegedly destroyed property during the same attack on Cisalada. Judge Atriwati adjourned their trial until Jan 26.
Authorities have declared the Ahmadiyah religion to be a deviant sect, and its followers have been the repeated target of attacks, especially in West Java and West Nusa Tenggara, by mainstream Muslim neighbors.