A case of justice lost and regained, 3 cocoa pods and 2 newspaper stories

This is a moving story of how screwed up Indonesia’s justice system is for the have nots, in this case a 55 year old illiterate grandmother. It is a moving and uplifting story because the presiding judge in this case did the right thing.


What’s curious about the Jakarta Globe story(below), however, is the great similarity it has to the Kompas story the day before. Unspun was alerted to the Kompas story by apeirokalia yesterday but did not have time to check it out. I was surprised by the similarity of the stories when I read the Globe’s today, and they had bylines too. A case of great minds thinking alike and writing alike in many paragraphs of the stories?

This story (in English) is the one from the Jakarta Globe. Further down is the Kompas story for comparison.

In a Grandmother’s Trial, It’s Judiciary That’s Found Guilty

The case of a grandmother of seven who was charged with stealing three pieces of cocoa fruit and subjected to 18 days of house arrest before being dragged to court to receive a suspended sentence is just further proof of the injustices visited on the poor in this country, human rights activists said on Friday.

“The Indonesian judiciary clearly still ignores anybody with no money, no power and no connections,” Nurkholis, a member of the National Commission on Human Rights, told the Jakarta Globe on Friday.

He was referring to the case of Minah, 55, an illiterate grandmother from a small village near Banyumas in Central Java.

Minah was confused that, after having returned the cocoa fruit to the plantation, owned by PT Rumput Sari Antan, and having apologized profusely, they still reported her to the police

However, she was adamant that she would face the courts and prosecutors’ offices even though she had to travel — on several occasions — long distances on foot before catching the bus from Banyumas to get to Purwokerto, initially to face questioning at the Purwokerto Prosecutor’s Office and later, as a defendant, at the Purwokerto District Court.

Read more.

And this is the Kompas story yesterday:

Jumat, 20 November 2009 | 08:09 WIB

Madina Nusrat

Minah (55) hanya dapat meremas kedua belah tangannya untuk menepis kegalauan agar tetap tegar saat menyampaikan pembelaan atau pleidoi di hadapan majelis hakim di Pengadilan Negeri Purwokerto, Kabupaten Banyumas, Jawa Tengah, Kamis (19/11).

Tanpa didampingi pengacara, ia menceritakan bahwa alasannya memetik tiga buah kakao di kebun PT Rumpun Sari Antan 4, pertengahan Agustus lalu, adalah untuk dijadikan bibit.

Nenek tujuh cucu yang buta huruf ini sesekali melemparkan pandangan kepada beberapa orang yang dikenal guna memperoleh kekuatan. Ia berusaha memastikan bahwa pembelaannya dapat meyakinkan majelis hakim.

Dengan menggunakan bahasa Jawa ngapak (dialek Banyumasan) bercampur bahasa Indonesia, Minah menuturkan, tiga buah kakao itu untuk menambah bibit tanaman kakao di kebunnya di Dusun Sidoharjo, Desa Darmakradenan, Kecamatan Ajibarang, Kabupaten Banyumas. ”Kalau dipenjara, inyong (saya) enggak mau Pak Hakim. Namung (cuma) tiga buah kakao,” ujar Minah kepada majelis hakim.

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5 thoughts on “A case of justice lost and regained, 3 cocoa pods and 2 newspaper stories

Add yours

  1. Thanks for putting this story up 🙂 This is the kind of injustice that happens a lot in Indonesia, and people need to be more aware of it.


  2. BTW with reference to your comment about the similarities of the two stories:

    It’s no secret that the MSM (main stream media) has difficulties with deadlines (or laziness, or pressures from their owners) and more or less sticks to the same version that another media has already published. In western countries usually this would come in the form of a story from reuters appearing on a local newspaper. But whereas with the western media they give recognition to the source (reuters, associated press, etc.) i often find that Indonesian news media don’t. Well, that’s my theory anyways 🙂


  3. The stories don’t look very similar (at least to me, my Indonesian isn’t great). The ledes are different. A story like this doesn’t have too many different angles. Also, it’s a court report story. Naturally the reporters have to write exactly what happened in the court, so everyone’s stuff is likely to be similar. The Globe story also has interviews with rights activists, which I couldn’t see in the Kompas story. They look pretty different to me, except for the facts of the case… and being the facts of the case, I’d be worried if the stories were vastly different! The facts of the case have to be reported as they were read in court. But I agree that it was a moving story and great to see the judge do the honorable thing (hint hint to the Tangerang prosecutors working on the Prita case…)


  4. Both articles are quite different, not just in the language used but also in their narrations. One thing that is greatly similar is the topic i.e about the tragic faith of an old woman victimized by the law enforcers who failed to consider non legal aspects e.g. she has returned the cacao to their owner, value of the cacao in comparison with the costs for court proceedings, the condition of the old woman who has to travel far to the court. Further, if the plantation co. have heart, they would have settle the case amicably, which would be a good PR for them.

    The court’s verdict would only distract people’s attention from things that’s happening in life like regular black outs, price hikes, etc, etc.


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