The Kraksaan District Court in Probolinggo, East Java, has sentenced cult leader Dimas Kanjeng Taat Pribadi to 18 years in prison for masterminding the murder of one of his followers, Abdul Ghani.
"The defendant has been proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to have encouraged the premeditated murder of the victim,” presiding judge Basuki Wiyono said as quoted by Antara.
Taat, who made headlines when he claimed to have the ability to multiply banknotes last year, escaped life imprisonment as demanded by the prosecutors.
Lead prosecutor Usman said he would appeal the sentence, which he said was too light.
Taat’s lawyer, M. Soleh, said his client would challenge the verdict, insisting that he was innocent. "We want our client acquitted of all charges because none of the four witnesses who testified claimed that our client was involved in the murder.”
Taat attracted hundreds of people after he claimed that he had the mystical ability to multiply banknotes. He has also been charged with fraud.
Two of his followers, Abdul Ghani and Ismail Hidayah, were reportedly murdered for trying to expose his fraudulent practices. (yon)