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Indonesia's ex- top judge gets life for corruption

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JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — An anti-graft court has sentenced Indonesia's former top judge to life imprisonment for corruption and money laundering.

Akil Mochtar was chief of the Constitutional Court when the Corruption Eradication Commission captured him red-handed last October for accepting bribes to fix the results of two local elections.

In a verdict handed down late Monday, a five-member panel at the anti-corruption court found him guilty of receiving bribes of more than $3.37 million in relation to disputes in elections for district and provincial chiefs.

It was revealed during the trial that Mochtar had received bribes to fix results of at least 10 local elections.

Presiding judge Suwidya said there was no reason to reject the maximum life sentence sought by prosecutors, since the defendant's deeds tarnished the image of the Constitutional Court as the highest state institution.

The panel rejected the prosecutors' demand that the defendant pay a fine of $840,000, saying it had handed down the maximum penalty for the crime.

"As chief of the highest institution, the last bastion for justice seekers, the defendant should act as a good example," said Suwidya, who uses a single name like many Indonesians. "The defendant's acts undermined the court's image."

The court also found him guilty of laundering more than $15.2 million from 2002, when he was a legislator with the Golkar party, until his arrest in October 2013.

He was elected as a judge in 2008 and became the chief judge in April last year.

Mochtar, 53, said he would appeal the verdict, which he described as unfair.

Endemic graft in Indonesia has been blamed for deterring foreign investment.

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