Indonesian police general Ferdy Sambo (in red vest), who is accused of murdering bodyguard Nofriansyah Yosua Hutabarat, is escorted to his trial at the South Jakarta court in Jakarta on October 17, 2022. ( AFP / Adek Berry)

Posts falsely claim Indonesian police general sentenced to death for murder in October 2022

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Multiple videos garnered hundreds of thousands of views after they were shared in YouTube, Facebook and TikTok posts that falsely claimed one of Indonesia's most senior police officers, Ferdy Sambo, was "officially sentenced to death" in October 2022 for allegedly killing his aide de camp. A spokesman for the court that heard his case told AFP no verdict had been issued and court records showed his trial was ongoing as of October 28, 2022. Sambo was subsequently sentenced to death on February 13, 2023 following a months-long trial.

"OFFICIALLY SENTENCED TO DEATH! MOTIVE FOR BRIGADIER J CASE HAS BEEN REVEALED AFTER FERDY SAMBO SENTENCED TO DEATH?" reads the Indonesian-language title of this video, posted on YouTube on October 16, 2022.

The three-minute footage, which contains various news clips, has been viewed more than 30,000 times since.

A chyron that says: "News / Ferdy Sambo officially sentenced to death tonight" also appears in three-minute footage.

Screenshot of the misleading post, taken on October 25, 2022

Ferdy Sambo, a two-star general and head of internal affairs for Indonesia's national police, was named as a suspect after his aide de camp was found dead at Sambo's home in July 2022, AFP reported.

He stands accused of ordering a subordinate to shoot Brigadier Nofriansyah Yosua Hutabarat, or Brigadier J, then shooting the wounded victim again himself to finish him off.

Sambo and his wife Putri Candrawathi are facing charges of premeditated murder -- a crime that carries a maximum sentence of death penalty.

He has also been charged with obstruction of justice, along with six other officers.

Other videos that share a similar claim have been viewed more than 226,000 times after they appeared on Tiktok here, and on Facebook here, here, here and here, since at least August 2022.

Some of the posts claim both Sambo and his wife Putri received the death sentence.

Comments from social media users indicate they believed the claim.

"Good that he is sentenced to death, he is very evil," wrote one, while another commented: "I agree Sambo is sentenced to death."

Screenshot of social media users' comments, taken on October 26, 2022

Trial ongoing

Sambo's first court hearing was in fact held at the South Jakarta District Court on October 17, 2022.

Responding to the false posts, South Jakarta District Court spokesman Djuyamto told AFP on October 27, 2022: "Right now there has been no verdict."

A keyword search on the district court's website found there have been three court hearings Sambo's and Putri's court cases as of October 28, 2022.

A fourth hearing for witnesses' testimony is scheduled for November 1, 2022.

Sambo was subsequently sentenced to death on February 13, 2023 following a months-long trial, AFP reported. He has a week to appeal the verdict.

Below are screenshots of Sambo's and Putri's trial schedules on the court's website:

Screenshots of Sambo's and Putri's trial schedules on the South Jakarta District Court's website
February 14, 2023 This story was updated to reflect that Ferdy Sambo was sentenced to death on February 13, 2023.