Indonesian Governor Guilty of Corruption

Published April 11, 2005

| Associated Press

An Indonesian court Monday sentenced the governor of tsunami-ravaged (search) Aceh province to 10 years in jail for corruption, in a verdict seen as an important test case for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's (search) battle against endemic graft.

A newly created anti-corruption court also fined Abdullah Puteh (search) $431,000 for siphoning off state money and padding the purchase price of a Russian-made Mi-2 helicopter foption," said judge Krisna Menon.

Puteh, who has always declared his innocence, was not in court to hear the sentence handed down.

The case dates back to 2002, long before the Dec. 26 tsunami hit Aceh, killing more than 127,000 people.

The relatively long verdict will be seen as a victory in Yudhoyono's anti-corruption fight. The former military general was elected in October last year after promising to crack down on graft.

The case was the first to be heard by the anti-corruption court. Activists are hoping the tribunal will be more effective than regular courts in prosecuting wealthy and influential suspects. Indonesia's legal system is one of its most corrupt institutions, and many well-connected defendants have been able to elude justice.

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