Indonesia official guilty of murder
Former anti-corruption head gets 18 years for masterminding businessman's murder.
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2010 05:24 GMT
Antasari Azhar denied the charge, saying he was being framed for jailing high-ranking officials [AFP]

An Indonesian court has found Antasari Azhar, the former chief of the country's anti-corruption agency, guilty of masterminding a murder, and sentenced him to 18 years in prison.

Judge Herri Swantoro, in a verdict on Thursday, convicted him of killing Nasrudin Zulkarnaen, the director of state-owned pharmaceutical company PT Putra Rajawali Banjaran, on March 15.

In South Jakarta District Court, prosecutors said Azhar wanted Zulkarnaen killed because he threatened to expose an incident of alleged sexual harassment between Azhar and Zulkarnaen's wife.

Zulkarnaen was found to have been shot through the window of his car as he was leaving a golf course on the outskirts of the capital.

Azhar, the former head of the independent Corruption Eradication Commission, has denied wrongdoing and described his arrest as a smear campaign in retaliation for his efforts to put high-ranking officials behind bars for corruption.

Related convictions

In separate trials on Thursday, Williardi Wizar, a police colonel, was convicted and sentenced to 12 years in jail for recruiting the hit men, while Sigit Haryo Wibisono, a businessman, received 15 years for financing the operation.

Prosecutors had asked for the death penalty for both.

Prosecutors are seeking a 15-year sentence for another businessman who allegedly introduced the hit men to Wizar.

The five hit men involved in Zulkarnaen's killing have each received between 17 and 18 years imprisonment.

The five hit men involved in Zulkarnaen's killing have each been sentenced to between 17 and 18 years in jail.

As head of the anti-graft commission for two years, Azhar oversaw a series of high-profile probes into government officials and institutions, including the father-in-law of one of the sons of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the Indonesian president.

The case against Azhar came amid a high-level plot to undermine the commission, better known as the KPK, in which two of his deputies were arrested on bogus charges of bribery and blackmail.

Anti-graft watchdogs regularly rank Indonesia as one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

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