October 6, 2016 / 3:37 AM / a year ago

Indonesia prosecutors seek 20 years in coffee poisoning case

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesian prosecutors said they are seeking a 20-year jail term for a woman charged with murdering her college friend by poisoning her coffee.

Jessica Kumala Wongso, a resident of Australia, is accused of the murder of Wayan Mirna Salihin at a Jakarta cafe in early January.

The case has grabbed widespread media attention in Indonesia and neighbouring Australia, with the cafe turning into a tourist spot and coffee products being named after Wongso. Weekly court hearings are televised live.

President Joko Widodo’s administration said in June Wongso would not be executed. The deal was made with Australia in order for Australian police to assist in the investigation.

“The public prosecutor in this case demands the panel of judges ... sentence the defendant Jessica Kumala Wongso to 20 years in prison,” prosecutor Melanie Wuwung said at the court hearing in Jakarta late Wednesday.

Wongso’s lawyers say there is no evidence that she poisoned her friend’s coffee.

“There is no CCTV footage,” lawyer Otto Hasibuan said. “What has been proven by prosecutors is only a game of words. Prosecutors have no direct evidence or witnesses who have seen the incident.”

Reporting by Agustinus Beo Da Costa; Writing by Randy Fabi; Editing by Nick Macfie

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