When his dad was boss, of course, Tommy was beyond the reach of any court, a charmed status that continued even after Suharto Sr. lost power in 1998. Tommy was first arrested in 1999, sentenced to 18 months for graft the following year, and then escaped in November 2000. During his 12 months on the lam, Supreme Court Justice Syafiuddin Kartasasmita, who convicted Tommy on the graft charges, was assassinated. Police finally caught up with Tommy last November, and he was later charged with the murder.
But last week, the judges in Jakarta proved that reformasi was still alive by ruling that Tommy had masterminded Syafiuddin's killing, paid $11,000 to two gunmen and lent them one of his own pistols to use in the attack. (Those two were convicted of murder last February and are serving life sentences.) Tommy will likely appeal the ruling; some fear that his absence from the courtroom last week was a ploy by his lawyers to manufacture grounds for an appeal. And the sentence handed down is considerably softer than the life terms being served by his henchmen. "According to any legal logic," says Frans Hendra Winata, a Jakarta-based legal expert, "the mastermind behind the killing has to get a heavier verdict than the executioners." The court explained its decision with a list of mitigating factors: that Tommy had been depressed, had a family to support, that he was young and capable of reform. Either way, a court in Indonesia showed that no one is entirely above the law—a principle that Indonesians have been waiting to see in action for far too long.