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 Indonesian jailed for palm oil plantation in protected area

13/2/07 JAKARTA (AFP) - Indonesia's Supreme Court has sentenced a palm oil plantation owner to eight years in jail for illegal cultivation in protected forest areas, a court spokesman said Tuesday.

D. L. Sitorus was jailed for five years in July for illegally developing his palm oil plantations in a protected forest in Torgamba in North Sumatra, but was acquitted in October after appealing to another court.

"The panel of five judges yesterday (Monday) ruled unanimously to overrule the appellate court's free verdict," Supreme Court spokesman Joko Upoyo Pribadi told AFP.

"Besides the eight years in prison, the panel also ruled to fine him five billion rupiah (552,500 dollars) or face an additional six months in jail," Pribadi said.

The court also ordered the confiscation of 47,000 hectares (118,000 acres) of palm oil plantation managed by several companies linked to the defendant and cultivated in protected forest.

Indonesia is losing forest areas equivalent to half the size of Switzerland every year, according to the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency.

Rapid deforestation has had devastating consequences for both Indonesia and the Southeast Asian region, causing floods and landslides and shrouding nearby countries with haze from illegal fires set to clear land.  

Malaysian Palm Oil Board ( MPOB ) Lot 6, SS6, Jalan Perbandaran, 47301 Kelana Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, MALAYSIA.
Tel : 603 - 7802 2800 || Fax : 603 - 7803 3533