Accused Logger Acquitted

JAKARTA ~ A district court has acquitted a man accused of being a major illegal logger who was arrested while on the run in China, a report said.

Prosecutors at a North Sumatra District Court were seeking a 10-year prison term for Adelin Lis, the financial director of logging company Keang Nam Development, accusing him of causing state losses of two million dollars through illegally felling trees.

Lis was captured when he attempted to extend his passport at the Indonesian embassy in Beijing in June 2006. He had gone on the run four months earlier, according to a statement on the embassy’s website.

The head of the panel of judges hearing his case said Lis was acquitted “due to a lack of strong evidence from the prosecutors,” ElShinta radio reported from the district court in Medan, North Sumatra’s capital.

The ruling caused uproar from environmental activists gathered in and outside the courtroom.

Shortly after the decision, prosecutor Harli Siregar said he planned to file a protest to the Supreme Court.

The embassy statement accused Lis of being an illegal logger and “environmental destroyer” who is also wanted for money laundering.

The case comes ahead of Indonesia hosting a major climate change conference in Bali in December, when its efforts to crack down on rampant illegal logging are likely to come under the spotlight.

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