Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Police back Tempo in logging libel suit

Jakarta Post 14th May

Police back Tempo in logging libel suit

A police officer has testified in the libel case brought against Tempo Magazine by PT Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP) over its reports on illegal logging.

Adj. Comr. Hersadwi, a police officer from Riau province, was one of two witnesses brought by Tempo's lawyer Hendrayana on Tuesday to prove that the magazine had a basis for mentioning RAPP in its reports on illegal logging published on July 6, 12 and 13 of 2007.

The other witness was an activist from Jakalahari, a local non-governmental organization concerned with environmental issues.

"We are investigating several illegal logging cases, including the one committed by RAPP. From the cases, we have about 30 suspects," Hersadwi said after the close of the day's trial proceedings at the South Jakarta District Court.

The police officer also confirmed he made statements to a Tempo journalist.
Hendrayana said a RAPP employee had been named as a suspect by the Riau Police in the illegal logging case.

RAPP filed a libel suit against Tempo with the South Jakarta District court last August.
In the suit, RAPP lawyers demanded the court order Tempo to pay the company Rp 1 billion (US$108,301) in material losses and Rp 500 million for immaterial losses following Tempo's allegations against the pulp and paper firm.

Hendrayana said Tempo journalists wrote the stories based on facts gathered from several sources, including the Riau Police.

"They did not make up the stories. The information was accurate because the facts were based on a police investigation and Jakalahari's research," he said.

During Tuesday's trial session the representative from Jakalahari also confirmed that Tempo had used data submitted by the NGO in its articles.

Tempo will present an expert witness to testify in the next trial session scheduled for May 27. (trw)