Indonesia jails child serial killer for life
Man murdered four boys and at least one was raped and mutilated. -AFP
JAKARTA - An Indonesian court on Wednesday sentenced a child serial killer to life in prison for murdering four boys - at least one of whom he raped and mutilated.
The Jakarta district court found 49-year-old Baekuni, known to the city's street children as Babeh or "father", guilty of the murders committed between July, 2007 and January this year.
Chief judge Mahfud Saefullah described Baekuni, a poor streetside cigarette seller, as a callous killer who befriended street children before raping and murdering them in his small East Jakarta home.
"The accused is proven guilty of committing premeditated murder and is sentenced to life in prison. His actions were despicable, his actions were cruel and he caused distress to the parents," he said.
Baekuni hung his head as the verdict was read.
"I accept the sentence. I feel relieved," he told reporters as he was led away.
Following his arrest in January, Baekuni reportedly confessed to police that he had brutally killed 14 children - mostly boys who lived or worked on the streets of Jakarta, a city of some 10 million people.
Prosecutors said they had no reason to doubt Baekuni's claims, but could only find enough evidence to charge him with four murders.
The court found that Baekuni raped his last victim, nine-year-old Ardiansyah, then murdered him to stop the boy telling anyone.
He hacked Ardiansyah's body into pieces and threw the remains into a nearby canal and under a bridge. A tipoff from a local resident led police to discover the mutilated corpse shortly afterwards.
Baekuni's sentence was lighter than the death penalty sought by prosecutors as he had no previous convictions. He also confessed to the murders and was remorseful, Saefullah said.
The killings shocked Indonesians and prompted many to question why, after a decade of democratic reform and economic prosperity, so many of the country's children remained so vulnerable to abuse.
There are more than 300,000 street children in Indonesia, according to government figures, but officials and human rights groups say many go uncounted.
Children can often be found begging, working or sleeping on the streets outside some of Indonesia's most expensive hotels and shopping malls, reflecting the massive gap between rich and poor in the developing country.
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