Do we still remember the arrest of elephant ivory hunters in Bridge Leighton II Pekanbaru in Februari 2015? Now the case does not get much attention from media and people. Media and people are being lulled by political drama happening in this country. Very ironic! When there is no other place to step on for big animal Sumatran Elephant, even in their own homeland.

The case is now turned to District Court Pangkalan Kerinci, Pelalawan, Riau Province. After previously, the seven defendants namely Fadli (51), Ari (40), Mursid (52), Ruslan (40), Ishak (25), Anwar (40) and Dani (19) had been sentenced with one year imprisonment by the panel of judges in District Court Bengkalis. Even though based on the Law Number 5 article 21 clauses (1) and (2) Year 1990 about Conservation of Biological Natural Resources and its Ecosystem, the criminal should be sentenced with maximum of 5 years imprisonment and maximum fine of 100.000.000 rupiahs.

This verdict was considered violating the justice for Sumatran Elephant Observer, How can it not? While Sumatran Elephant Observers were busy thinking and doing the actions to protect them, some individuals utilizing them as source of income. Critically Endangered status launched by IUCN was not enough to open the heart of many people. With the population number around 300-350 elephants in Riau, Sumatran Elephants are now on the verge of extinction (one step closer to the extinction in the nature)! Based on data from WWF-Indonesia, every year in Riau there have always been death case of Sumatran Elephants, in this 2015, WWF recorded 10 Elephants died in Riau. Although this number decreased from 2014 that reached 24 Elephants. The effort to save Elephants is still going on, giving penalty and assertive punishment considered important to give deterrent effect for the Elephants killing criminal

Judicial process is still going on as well, but it only leaves with 4 defendants, namely Ari, Ishak, Anwar and Dani. Meanwhile, Fadli who was the capitalist did not face justice and only became the witness during the judicial process in District Court Pangkalan Kerinci by the panel of judges’ consisted of Bangun Sagita Rambey, Wanda Andriyenni and Nurrahmi. Mursid and Ruslan were considered uninvolved in the crime location in Segati Village, sub-District Langgam, District Pelalawan.

Based on the fact of the trial, Ari gave the statement to the panel of judges that Fadli is the main suspect as the brain and the financier of this case. Ari and friends were ordered by Fadli to look for Elephants Ivory to be sold to him with 4 million rupiahs per kilos of ivory they got. ‘Our Guns, ammunition, logistic, and capital in hunting Elephants were provided by Fadli, Fadli is our boss’ explained Ari. Panel of judges questioned the status of Fadli that in Berita Acara Pidana (BAP) was as a witness, while based on the trial fact, Fadli is the main suspect, ‘Prosecutor, why is Fadli’s status as witness in this case? He should be the main suspect’ said head of the judges, Bangun Sagita Rambey. But the prosecutor, Ermindawati and Anton said that they only forwarded the files from high prosecutor Riau, in which files, Fadli’s status was a s witness. ‘We have summoned witness Fadli several times, but he always ignored and never attended to be asked for his statement as witness in the trial’ explained Ermindawati.

Fadli as the brain and financier of Elephant Ivory hunters group had been called for 5 times to give his statements as witness, but he was always absent during trial. Even the prosecutors had visited his house and his farm, but he was never there. ‘We have summoned him, through telephone, sms, even coming to his house and farm in Simalinyang, but he was never there, we left the letter of summons to the farm keeper, but he still did not come to the trial. Even though this has been the fifth call’ explained Anton, the prosecutor.

Ironic, it is, now Fadli has been exempted and not detained anymore, even law enforcer was not brave enough to touch Fadli, although only with the status as witness. No effort to enforce the justice law to be seen. Even though the arrest of these Elephants Ivory hunters group financed by Fadli was highly appreciated by many circles of Elephants Observer. In the past 10 years, none of the Elephants death that can be unveiled successfully.

Reski Ardiansyah as an Elephant Observer from Mapala UIR stated, ‘we support and appreciate the move on law enforcement toward the criminal of Elephants Ivory Hunters, but we are disappointed by the sentence given by the judges in District Court Bengkalis that only sentenced the criminal with the average of 1 year imprisonment, even now, Fadli, as the man financier and suspect is not detained anymore. We expect in this case handled by District Court Pangkalan Kerinci, prosecutors and judges can give the deterrent effect toward the criminal and make justice and wise decision’.

The state must be aware of the nature preservation potential we have, don’t let our grandchildren only see the green of forests through paintings, only hear the water ripple through smartphone, see the elephants and other animal through the TV screen because they cannot feel the preserved nature anymore, and the most important thing is that each of us are responsible for keeping the preservation of nature, starting from smallest action around us. May this be challenge for us all to be solved, not as a gap to be pessimistic and ignorant. Preserved my nature, preserved my country!

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Source: Forest Watch Indonesia