JAKARTA, June 18 (Xinhua) -- A commissioner of a company will be tried soon for a deforestation case taking place in Indonesia's province of Riau Islands, indicating the country's seriousness in enforcing law to protect forests.
PT Prima Makmur Batam's commissioner Zazli was declared a suspect for converting the status of protected forests in the province's city of Batam to that of a residential area, the Environment and Forestry Ministry's Director for the Criminal Law Enforcement Yazdi Nurhuda said on Thursday.
Zazli was arrested in February in the converted forests with all the heavy machinery equipment in the project seized for evidence, the director said.
The official said that the case and the evidence were handed to the attorney office in Batam on Thursday in the hope that the case could be brought to the trial soon.
Nurhuda stressed that Zazli's act was illegal as it has destroyed protected forests. Under the law, the suspect could face ten years behind bars and pay a fine if convicted, the director said.
Besides Zazli, investigators and police have also hunted the director of PT Prima Makmur Batam for his responsibility in the case, Nurhuda was quoted by local media as saying.
Deforestation has primarily contributed to natural disasters, such as flash floods, floods and landslides across the vast-archipelagic nation, leaving hundreds of casualties and huge damages.
The government has committed to taking measures to protect and preserve the country's forests. Enditem