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Judge Not, Less Ye Be Judged

Baliís Tough Death Sentence Judge Dies Suddenly From Suspected Heart Attack

(4/19/2013) Amser Simanjuntak, the Bali-based jurist renowned for his readiness to hand down death sentences in major narcotics cases, was found dead on Saturday, April 13, 2013, at his official residence in Denpasar.

The 55-year-old judge was discovered clutching his chest, lying on the floor of his official residence, after his family and co-workers raised an alarm when they were unable to reach Simanjuntak on the phone.

While police continue to investigate the death, preliminary reports suggest the Judge died of cardiac arrest on Thursday evening. His family, who reside in Java, refused a full autopsy on the dead man’s body.

The death came just one day after Simanjuntak held a press conference at which he defended his decision to uphold the death sentence of 57-year-old grandmother, Lindsay June Sandiford, for her central role in the smuggling 4.7 kilograms of cocaine, [See: Speaking with an Imperative Sentence ]

Court officials became suspicious when the usually meticulous Simanjuntak failed to appear at court proceedings scheduled for Friday morning. Quoted by The Jakarta Post, a Denpasar court official said: “That was very strange. Pak Amser was a dedicated and self-disciplined person. He would never done this without prior warning or at least a call.”

Simanjuntak had worked for three years at the Denpasar District Court, leaving his wife and three children at his home in Yogyakarta, Central Java.

Simanjuntak had little time or mercy for those convicted of narcotics offenses. During his long career on the bench, he handed down numerous death penalties, oftentimes ignoring prosecutors calls for long prison sentence preferring, instead, to met out the punishment of death before a firing squad.

Simanjuntak had also recently sentenced to death a husband and wife in Bali for killing their husband-wife employers and their small daughter during a robbery.