BISKOM, INDONESIA – After the plaintiff fails to attend for the second time, the panel of judges held a third hearing with the agenda of evidence from the plaintiff. However, when the trial was about to begin, it turned out that the attorney from the defendant ABC was present,” said Zulkifli, when interviewed in his room, Thursday (5/25/2023). Because of the presence of the defendant, said Zulkifli, the panel of judges finally gave the defendant the opportunity to prove legal standing as legal counsel at the next hearing.

Head of Public Relations of the Central Jakarta District Court, Zulkifli, has responded to the news that has been circulating in various media related to the trial process of lawsuit case number: 150/Pdt.G/2023/PN Jkt.Pst, Hussain Muhammad Nasr Al Masmawi (47) against the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Head of Public Relations Zulkifli stated that the accusation made by Hussain as the plaintiff that the clerk and the panel of judges were tricking him was not true.

So for the hearing, for which he said the plaintiff was present and had been waiting from morning until afternoon, Zulkifli said, it might have been due to language matters. “When case number 150 was called, it could be that the plaintiff did not notice so the hearing continued at 11 am with the presence of the defendant,” said Zukifli.

Zulkifli admitted that at the time of the third hearing, the new attorney would just register his power of attorney to fulfill administrative requirements. When asked about the rules of procedural law that were violated when the attorney had not registered his power of attorney, Zulkifli said the panel of judges had the right to give the defendant’s attorney the opportunity. “They came and we had no reason to reject them,” he said.

Responding to Zulkifli’s statement, Hussain, who was contacted over the phone on Thursday (25/5/2023) in Jakarta, said he was surprised.  “At the same time, the honorable court did not consider my presence on May 17 as actual and legitimate. That deprives me of my legitimate, official, and legal rights,” said Hussain.

Zulkifli also commented on the issue of the trial on May 17, 2023, which was considered by the plaintiff to be a fallacy because the clerk and the panel of judges were scheming on him.
“Every trial, the judge must have the entire trial agenda in his hands. So every time the trial will begin, the judge will call by only mentioning the case number. When it is summoned and no one is present, the trial is continued and the postponement is determined through a trial decision,” he explained.

He also added that at that time he had proof that his presence was legal and official, registered and documented. And he was also accompanied by an official translator and a number of friends. “What is strange is that the honorable court did not discuss at all what happened on May 17, and did not confirm my presence. Whereas I was present and registered electronically, and was actually present in the honorable court from 10:00 to 16:30,” said Hussain, accompanied by photographic evidence of the barcode and photos of attendance in front of the courtroom.

And he said, what is displeased me that although the honorable court was aware of his presence, it is unfortunate that the court deprived him of his legitimate rights. Instead, Hussain continued, the court had granted rights to the ABC lawyer without him going through the official registration process and without having official proof of his representation from ABC.

“Even though ABC could have sent the original copy of the agency to his lawyer within 24 hours without any hindrance. After all, it was only a piece of paper. While I came straight from Sydney just to appear in this honorable court,” he added.

“I and many like me have been wronged and treated unfairly. I come to you, O Indonesia (the people and the government) asking for justice and the voice of your conscience. Nothing more. I only seek truth and justice for myself my family and my tribe,” Hussain said softly.

At the same time, the court claimed that the trial was held in the Sujono room and that it was on the 3rd floor. “This is completely contradictory and illogical. And this honorable court claimed that the trial was held in the Sujono room at exactly 11am on May 17, 2023 on the third floor.

It is also said that it is very seems odd for the honorable court to say that it is impossible to change the courtroom that has been determined on May 17, 2023. Because according to the existing schedule and supported by electronic barcodes, the courtroom will be on the 2nd floor, not on the 3rd floor.

According to Hussain, this is the second time,  that ABC has tried to buy time until the closure of its Jakarta office.

Hussain’s statement also refuted the statement of Head of Public Relations Zulkifli that the hearing started at 11am while at the same time Hussain claimed to be at the location with his translator. Hussain even showed evidence of barcode scans that at 10:48 until 11:30 ABC lawyers were not present at the Central Jakarta District Court.

“This is not true.  Because at that time in the Sujono room there was a closed hearing and we were not allowed to enter.  We were asked to wait outside until the hearing ended at around 11.25pm. At that time we were sitting right in front of the courtroom.  After the closed session ended we immediately went in and everyone including the panel of judges had left the place,” explained Hussain.

“The honorable court’s claim that perhaps I did not understand Indonesian when my case number 150 was called, it is illogical to me.  Because I was accompanied by three Indonesians who sat with me, including an official and certified translator. He also asked several times and was answered that the hearing would be held in another room, not in the Sujono room,” he explained.

Hussain also objected to the court’s statement that ABC’s lawyer was actually present on May 3, 2023 but was unable to attend the hearing.

“His claim that ABC’s lawyer was present at the courthouse on May 3 without making official registration in accordance with the rules and regulations of court proceedings, and without carrying an official Power of Attorney from ABC, is invalid by law and in accordance with Indonesian law,” said Hussain while exposing articles in the Civil Procedure Code.

Closing the phone interview, Hussain said that he really hoped that lawyer Hotman Paris, who is well known for helping oppressed people, could help him in this case as a victim seeking justice in Indonesia. (HGM) ***