Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Temple Theft Man Gets Six-and-a-Half Years’ Jail


One of the men in the temple theft ring broken by police last year has been sentenced to six-and-a-half-years’ jail after a trial in the Amlapura District Court in Karangasem, the regency where many of the thefts took place.

Komang Gede Pariana, 23, also known as Roko Apple, was sentenced by a panel of judges chaired by Judge Wayan Merta. The sentence was six months longer than the term sought by the prosecution.

Evidence at the trial convinced the judges that Pariana, from Rendang, Karangasem, was guilty of theft with aggravation, contrary to article 363 of the Criminal Code.

The judges said they found no extenuating circumstances and Pariana had broken religious symbols and violated the law on cultural property.

Pariana, formerly a truck driver, told the court he had been a member of the theft ring with two other men yet to face trial, one of them I Gusti Putu Oka Riadi Aji, 55, also known as Gung Tabanan and identified as the gang leader.

He admitted having broken into the Dalem Dadia Pering Temple at Rendang and another temple at Muncan, and to having acted as the supervisor of the break-in gang on those occasions.

Pariana’s cousin, Wayan Eka Putra, 25, also known as Surung, is charged with the same offences on a separate indictment.

Italian national Roberto Gamba, 60, who was arrested along with Pariana and others last year, remains in police custody under investigation over allegations that he organised the overseas sale of prohibited relics.

It is alleged the string of 30 or more temple thefts since 2006 commenced at about the time Gamba arrived in Bali to live.

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