Judge Marzuki and Grandma The Cassava Thief

Below is a positive justice story from my Mas Adi’s blog.  Apparently a true story from Prabumulih City, which I think is actually in South Sumatra not Lampung.   Arguably justice institutions need these stories, or myths, if they are to gain the public legitimacy necessary to intervene in cases involving more powerful institutions.

This is the story from one of my colleagues, Khafid Sirotudin, a Central Java regional council representative for the PAN faction. The case occurred in 2011 in Prabumulih District, Lampung (true story).  Marzuki, the local judge sat stunned in the court room listening to the prosecutor accuse of stealing cassava.  The grandma argued that she was poor and her son’s child was sick and hungry, but the manager of PT Andalas Paper insisted she was prosecuted so as to make an example for other citizens.

Marzuki the judge sighed, he cut off the demands of the public prosecutor. “Excuse me,” he said, looking at the old woman. “I can not make exceptions to the law, the law remains the law, so you should be punished. I’m fining you Rp. 1 million ($110) and if you are not able to pay then you should go to prison 2.5 years, as per the demand of the public prosecutor.”

The grandma bowed and sluggish, her heart crushed, while the judge removed his off hat, opened his wallet and then took out the money and placed Rp. 1 million in the hat and told the audience: “I on behalf of the court also impose a fine to all those present in this courtroom for Rp. 50,000 because those settling in this city have allowed a person to starve  and be forced to steal to feed her grandchildren. Clerks, please help collect the fine in my hat then give all the proceeds to the accused. ”

The judge banged his hammer and left the courtroom, the old woman went away with Rp. 3.5 million ($390), including Rp. 50,000 ($5.50) paid by the manager of PT Andalas Paper.  Unfortunately the press missed the story.

Ini adalah cerita dari rekan saya, Khafid Sirotudin, anggota DPRD Jateng dari Fraksi PAN. Kasus tahun 2011 lalu di Kabupaten Prabumulih, Lampung (kisah nyata), di ruang sidang pengadilan, hakim Marzuki duduk tercenung menyimak tuntutan jaksa PU terhadap seorang nenek yang dituduh mencuri singkong. Nenek itu berdalih bahwa hidupnya miskin, anak lelakinya sakit, cucunya lapar, namun manajer PT Andalas Kertas tetap pada tuntutannya, agar menjadi contoh bagi warga lainnya.

Hakim Marzuki menghela nafas, dia memutus di luar tuntutan jaksa penuntut umum. “Maafkan saya,”  katanya sambil memandang nenek itu. “Saya tidak dapat membuat pengecualian hukum, hukum tetap hukum, jadi Anda harus dihukum. Saya mendenda Anda Rp 1 juta dan jika anda tidak mampu bayar maka Anda harus masuk penjara 2,5 tahun, seperti tuntutan jaksa penuntut umum.” 

Nenek itu tertunduk lesu, hatinya remuk redam, sementara hakim Marzuki mencopot topi toganya, membuka dompetnya kemudian mengambil dan memasukkan uang 1 juta rupiah ke topi toganya serta berkata kepada hadirin.

“Saya atas nama pengadilan, juga menjatuhkan denda kepada tiap orang yang hadir di ruang sidang ini sebesar 50ribu rupiah, sebab menetap di kota ini, yang membiarkan seseorang kelaparan sampai harus mencuri untuk memberi makan cucunya. Saudara panitera tolong kumpulkan dendanya dalam topi toga saya ini lalu berikan semua hasilnya kpd terdakwa.”

Sampai palu diketuk dan hakim marzuki meninggaikan ruang sidang, nenek itu pun pergi dengan mengantongi uang 3,5 jt rupiah, termasuk uang 50 ribu yg dibayarkan oleh manajer PT Andalas Kertas. Sayang, kisahnya luput dari pers.

h/t Gelombang Cinta, see here: Gelombang Cinta: Hakim Marzuki dan Nenek Pencuri Singkong.

4 thoughts on “Judge Marzuki and Grandma The Cassava Thief

  1. sri1ram says:

    Beautiful. Hats off to the judge and his humanity. Here from India, we hear so many stories of violence and extremism from Islamic Pakistan – I am sure there are enough stories of Humanity and kindness there too like Abdul Sattar Edhi – sadly they get lost among the tenfold stories of violence and bloodshed.

  2. Nhuan Le says:

    I am wiping tears running down and down . . . so touching story . I wish this kind of justice would be present in Vietnam, where there have been only one branch of power ( executive) under one party ( communist ) for almost a century . Consequently, and naturally, corruption becomes everyday , every hour, every minute activities of the society . Judges, journalists , police . . . are communists or under control of the party . . . The party members can take whatever they want and will put the owners in prison if they protest. To know more, please type : DOAN VAN VUON, or VAN GIANG, or TIEN LANG in Google or YouTube . . .

    • excuriae says:

      Hi there – Thanks for your post clarifying the source of the story. I suspected this story might be fictitious. What surprised me was how popular it is — its is by far my most popular post although unfortunately for me its not directly related to my blog’s topic! It suggests to me that people want to hear positive stories about justice in Indonesia and not just negative stories about corruption, fraud, etc.

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