INDONESIA: Environmental activists convicted by Semarang Court

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-043-2018
ISSUES: Environmental protection, Impunity, Right to remedy, Rule of law,

Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS), a national human rights organization, regarding criminal charges against five environmental activists who advocated against pollution caused by the RUM company. The five protested against the Company due to the complete lack of progress in addressing the issue of pollution. Despite the fact that Indonesian law recognizes that everyone who promotes a healthy environment cannot be prosecuted, the five activists have been convicted and sentenced to two years imprisonment by the Court.

CASE NARRATIVE:

The Semarang District Court through decision number 292/Pid.B/2018/PN.Smg and 293/Pid.B/2018/PN, convicted five environmental activists who actively organized a campaign against RUM Company. The Company has polluted the air and water due to its production activities.

In March 2018, the five activists were arrested by the Central Java Regional Police (Polda Jawa Tengah), and criminally charged with allegations of property destruction in public area, and causing fire, explosion and flooding in the public demonstration held on 23 February 2018. After facing trial, the five activists were convicted with the following sentences: Mohammad Isbun Payu, Kelvin Ferdiasyah Subekti, and Sukerni Edi Susanto, were sentenced to two years and three months imprisonment, while Brillian Yosef Naufal and Sutarno were sentenced to two years imprisonment.

According to KontraS, the panel judges of Semarang District Court ignored their opinion regarding the RUM Company. In KontraS’ opinion, the criminal acts committed by the defendants were caused by the environmental pollution committed by the RUM Company, as well as zero progress to resolve the pollution. Secondly, the acts committed by the defendants were based on the intention to stop the pollution caused by RUM Company. These considerations should not only be used as a basis for lighter sentences, but should in fact prompt the Judges to release the five defendants from all charges, based on Article 66, Law No. 32 of 2009, which states that “Everyone who fights for a good and healthy right to the environment cannot be prosecuted or sued”.

SUGGESTED ACTION:

Please write to the authorities listed below. Ask them to ensure that environmental pollution committed by the RUM Company must be properly investigated under fair trial principles. If the Company is found guilty, it must be held accountable, and subsequently the Central Java High Court must examine the Court judgment and ensure that the judgment is in line with due process and rule of law. In addition, the Judicial Commission and the National Commission on Human Rights must monitor the case and ensure that the rights of the defendants are protected.

The AHRC will write a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on Situation of Human Rights Defenders and Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers calling for their intervention in this matter.

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER

SAMPLE LETTER

Dear ___________, INDONESIA: Environmental activists convicted by Semarang Court Name of victims: Mohammad Isbun Payu, Kelvin Ferdiasyah Subekti, Sukerni Edi Susanto, Brillian Yosef Naufal and Sutarno, Names of alleged perpetrators: RUM Company Date of incidents: Between February and August 2018 Place of incident: Semarang, Central Java province I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding criminal charges against five environmental activists who advocated against pollution caused by the RUM company. The five protested against the Company due to the complete lack of progress in addressing the issue of pollution. Despite the fact that Indonesian law recognizes that everyone who promotes a healthy environment cannot be prosecuted, the five activists have been convicted and sentenced to two years imprisonment by the Court. The Semarang District Court through decision number 292/Pid.B/2018/PN.Smg and 293/Pid.B/2018/PN, convicted five environmental activists who actively organized a campaign against RUM Company. The Company has polluted the air and water due to its production activities. In March 2018, the five activists were arrested by the Central Java Regional Police (Polda Jawa Tengah), and criminally charged with allegations of property destruction in public area, and causing fire, explosion and flooding in the public demonstration held on 23 February 2018. After facing trial, the five activists were convicted with the following sentences: Mohammad Isbun Payu, Kelvin Ferdiasyah Subekti, and Sukerni Edi Susanto, were sentenced to two years and three months imprisonment, while Brillian Yosef Naufal and Sutarno were sentenced to two years imprisonment. According to KontraS, the panel judges of Semarang District Court ignored their opinion regarding the RUM Company. In KontraS’ opinion, the criminal acts committed by the defendants were caused by the environmental pollution committed by the RUM Company, as well as zero progress to resolve the pollution. Secondly, the acts committed by the defendants were based on the intention to stop the pollution caused by RUM Company. These considerations should not only be used as a basis for lighter sentences, but should in fact prompt the Judges to release the five defendants from all charges, based on Article 66, Law No. 32 of 2009, which states that "Everyone who fights for a good and healthy right to the environment cannot be prosecuted or sued". Therefore, I respectfully request you to ensure that environmental pollution committed by the RUM Company must be properly investigated under fair trial principles. If the Company is found guilty, it must be held accountable, and subsequently the Central Java High Court must examine the Court judgment and ensure that the judgment is in line with due process and rule of law. In addition, the Judicial Commission and the National Commission on Human Rights must monitor the case and ensure that the rights of the defendants are protected. I look forward to your prompt action in this matter. Yours Sincerely, ………………. PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO: 1. Mr. Joko Widodo President of the Republic of Indonesia Jl. Veteran No. 16 Jakarta Pusat INDONESIA Tel: +62 21 3458 595 Fax: +62 21 3484 4759 E-mail: webmaster@setneg.go.id 2. Mr. Yasonna Laoly Minister of Law and Human Rights Jl. HR Rasuna Said Kav. 6–7 Kuningan, Jakarta 12940 INDONESIA Tel: +62 21 525 3006, 525 3889 Fax: +62 21 525 3095 3. Dr. Mualimin Abdi SH., MH Director General of Human Rights Office of the Director General of Human Rights Jl. HR Rasuna Said Kav. 6–7 Kuningan, Jakarta 12940 INDONESIA Tel: +62 21 5253006 Fax: +62 21 5253095 4. General Pol. Drs. H.M. Tito Karnavian, M.A., Ph.D Chief of National Police (KAPOLRI) Jl. Trunojoyo No. 3 KebayoranBaru, Jakarta Selatan 12110 INDONESIA Tel: +62 21 384 8537, 726 0306 Fax: +62 21 7220 669 E-mail: info@polri.go.id 5. Ms. Poengky Indarti Commissioner of the National Police Commission Jl. Tirtayasa VII No. 20 KebayoranBaru, Jakarta Selatan INDONESIA Tel: +62 21 739 2315 Fax: +62 21 739 2352 E-mail: secretariat@kompolnas.go.idskm@kompolnas.go.id 6. Professor. Amzulian Rifai S.H, LL.M, PhD Chairperson of Ombudsman of Republic of Indonesia  Jl. HR. Rasuna Said Kav. C-19 Kuningan (GedungPengadilan TIPIKOR) Jakarta Selatan INDONESIA Tel: +62 21 52960894/95 Fax: +62 21-52960904/05 7. Mr. Kahar Muzakir Chairperson of the Commission III of The House of Representative  Ketua Komisi III DPR RI  Gedung Nusantara II DPR RI, Lt I JalanJenderalGatotSubroto, Jakarta, INDONESIA Telp : +62 21 -5715566, +62 21-5715569, +62 21-5715864 Fax : +62 21 5715566 8. Mr. Abdul Haris Semendawai Chairperson of the Agency for Victims and Witness Protection  Lembaga Perlindungan Saksi dan Korban (LPSK)  Jalan Raya Bogor KM. 24 No. 47-49, Susukan, Ciracas, RT.6/RW.1, Susukan, Ciracas, Kota Jakarta Timur, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 13750 Tel: +62 21 29681560 Fax: +62 21 29681551 / +62 21 29681557 9. Mr. Ahmad Taufan Damanik  Chairperson of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) Jl. Latuharhary No. 4-B Jakarta 10310 INDONESIA Tel: +62 21 392 5227-30 Fax: +62 21 392 5227 E-mail: info@komnas.go.id 10. Mr. Aidul Fitriciada Azhari  Chairperson of The Judicial Commission  Jalan Kramat Raya No. 57 Jakarta Pusat  INDONESIA Tel: +62 21 3905876 Fax: +62 21 3906215 Email: pengaduan@komisiyudisial.go.id Thank you. Urgent Appeals Program Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)
Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : AHRC-UAC-043-2018
Countries : Indonesia,
Issues : Environmental protection, Impunity, Right to remedy, Rule of law,