Home / News / Urgent Appeals / INDONESIA: Ahmadiyah members in Batam are threatened, ill-treated and illegally arrested with the acquiescence of the police

INDONESIA: Ahmadiyah members in Batam are threatened, ill-treated and illegally arrested with the acquiescence of the police

May 25, 2012

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-086-2012

25 May 2012

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INDONESIA: Ahmadiyah members in Batam are threatened, ill-treated and illegally arrested with the acquiescence of the police

ISSUES: Freedom of expression, freedom of religion, minorities, police negligence, arbitrary arrest & detention
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Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding intimidation from the Islamic Defenders Front (Front Pembela Islam, FPI) towards Ahmadiyah in Batam. Short after the religious minority group held its Friday prayer on 27 April 2012, the FPI came to Nagoya building (Ruko Nagoya) where the group members regularly hold its religious activities. The FPI forcibly took the leader and two members of the group to the police where, under threats and intimidations and with the acquiescence of the police, the leader of Ahmadiyah Batam was forced to sign an agreement saying that the Ahmadiyah group will not hold any religious activities in Ruko Nagoya.

CASE NARRATIVE:

Some members of Ahmadiyah in Batam conduct their religious and organisational activities in a three-floor building in Komplek Nagoya Square (Ruko Nagoya) in Batam. On 27 April 2012 at around 1.30pm, the leader of the group, Mubaligh Nasrun, heard that there were noises coming from the first floor. A group of people as appearing to be members of the FPI, a fundamentalist Islamic group got into the building while repeatedly yelling ‘Ahmadiyah is deviant’. The FPI managed to reach the second floor where it met Mubaligh Nasrun, an Ahmadiyah member and asked him ‘who is the leader of the group?’ to which Mubaligh Nasrun replied, ‘I am’. He was later dragged by the FPI to another part of the second floor and was forced to sit on the floor to prevent him running away. Mubaligh Nasrun told the FPI that they should talk about things calmly but instead the group responded by hitting him on his head with a broomstick until the stick was broken. Mubaligh Nasrun was also subject to beatings with bare hands as well as threats. A member of the FPI, for instance, asked him whether Mubaligh Nasrun wanted him to cut the Mubaligh’s throat.

While some of the FPI members were intimidating, threatening Mubaligh Nasrun, some others were taking books, Qurans and pictures of the Fourth Ahmadiyah’s Khalifah. Mubaligh Nasrun and two other members of the Ahmadiyah, Suwandi and Arief, were later forcibly taken to the Barelang District Police Station by the FPI in its car.

In the police station, the three Ahmadiyah members received more intimidation and threats by the FPI who demanded the police to detain Mubaligh Nasrun and the other Ahmadiyah members or to close down Ruko Nagoya where the Ahmadiyah holds its activities. The other option that FPI offered was that Mubaligh Nasrun and other members have to declare that they are no longer Ahmadiyahs. The Deputy Head of the Community Empowerment Unit of Barelang District Police, Kompol Suyanto, was present during the negotiations between the FPI and the Ahmadiyah members at the police station yet he failed to take steps to stop the intimidation directed against Mubaligh Nasrun and his fellow Ahmadis. The Head of Batam Religious Tolerance Forum, a representative of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) and the Head of Jamaah Ahmadiyah Indonesia (JAI) in Batam were contacted and asked to come to the police station as well. Due to intimidation and threats directed against the members of the organisation he leads, the Head of JAI in Batam signed an agreement which consented that the Ahmadiyah members to stop conducting any activities in Ruko Nagoya. Mubaligh Nasrun, Suwandi and Arief who were taken forcibly to the police station by the FPI were detained until 5am on the next day. As time of writing, the Ahmadiyah members have not started performing any activities in Ruko Nagoya and have been conducting their religious activities in their own houses.

JAI Batam is still consulting the JAI central office to decide if it will pursue any legal venue in relation to the intimidation and threats directed to it.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
Article 14 paragraph (1) point i of the Indonesian Law No. 2 Year 2002 on the Indonesian National Police establishes that one of the police’s main duties is to protect the life, properties, society and the environment from any kind of attacks or disruptions. In discharging such duty, the police are obliged to refrain from any discrimination practice. This obligation is stipulated in the Chief of the Indonesian National Police’s Regulation No. 8 Year 2009 which one of articles read that ‘in accordance with the principle of respect for human rights, every INP member in discharging his/her duties or in the course of their daily lives must protect and respect human rights, or at least ... act justly and non-discriminatory.’

However, this obligation is rarely fulfilled by the police when it comes to cases regarding attacks towards the Ahmadiyah communities in Indonesia. A local NGO, Lembaga Studi dan Advokasi Masyarakat (Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy, ELSAM) reported that Ahmadiyah is the most persecuted religious groups in Indonesia. In 2011, 54% of freedom of religion cases in Indonesia is concerning the Ahmadiyah. The full report in English can be downloaded here. Despite this fact, those who committed violence against the Ahmadiyah is hardly punished proportionately. Twelve people who beat three Ahmadiyah members to death last year were only sentenced to less than a year imprisonment. In other cases, the perpetrators got off scot-free.

In Indonesia, the Ahmadiyah is prohibited to disseminate any interpretation and religious activities which are not in accordance with the mainstream Islam’s teachings. This prohibition is stipulated in the 2008 Joint Decree issued by the Minister of Religious Affair, the Attorney General and the Home Minister. Any dissemination of interpretation which is not in accordance with the teachings of mainstream Islam in Indonesia is considered as religious blasphemy, which is criminalised under Law No. 1/PnPs/1965 which was later adopted in Article 156a of the Indonesian Penal Code. The provision carries a maximum punishment of five years imprisonment.

Under the Indonesian Penal Code, what the FPI has committed towards Ahmadiyah members in this case amount to crimes, The intimidation and threats it directed to Mubaligh Nasrun and other Ahmadiyah members in Batam are prohibited under Article 336 of the law which carries maximum five years imprisonment. The act of taking Mubaligh Nasrun, Suwandi and Arief to the police illegally should be considered as abduction which is a crime under Article 328 and is subject to a maximum 12 years imprisonment. The FPI personnel should also be held responsible for properties destruction and theft for taking books, pictures and Quran owned by the Ahmadiyah members.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write to the listed authorities below urging them to ensure the police and other law enforcement officials to provide protection towards the Ahmadiyah in Batam. Please also urge the relevant authorities to repeal any discriminatory laws, policies and practices which jeopardise the rights of minorities.

The AHRC is also writing separately to the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, the UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ___________,

INDONESIA: Ahmadiyah members in Batam are threatened, ill-treated and illegally arrested with the acquiescence of the police

Name of affected community: Ahmadiyah group in Batam
Name of victims: Nasrun, Suwandi, Arief
Names of alleged perpetrators: Members of Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) Batam, Head Deputy of the Community Empowerment Unit of Barelang District Police
Date of incident: 27 April 2012
Place of incident: Batam

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the intimidations and threats directed by the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) against Ahmadiyah in Batam. I received the information saying on 27 April 2012 the members of FPI came to Ruko Nagoya where some of Ahmadiyah Batam’s members conduct their religious and organisational activities. The FPI members beat Mubaligh Nasrun, the leader of Ahmadiyah in that place, on his head with a broomstick that the stick got broken. Mubaligh Nasrun was also subject to beatings and threats. The FPI members also took away all the books, Qurans and pictures of the Fourth Ahmadiyah’s Khalifah before finally took Mubaligh Nasrun and two other Ahmadiyah members, Suwandi and Arief, to the Barelang District Police Station.

I was told that, at the police station, the three Ahmadiyah members received further intimidation and threats. The FPI demanded the police to detain Mubaligh Nasrun, Suwandi and Arief or to close down Ruko Nagoya therefore stopping the Ahmadiyah from conducting their religious activities there. Another option which was offered by the FPI was that for Mubaligh Nasrun, Suwandi and Arief to declare that they are no longer part of Ahmadiyah. The Deputy Head of Community Empowerment of Barelang District Police, Kompol Suyanto, was present during this ‘negotiation’ process yet he did not take any measures to stop the intimidation directed against the Ahmadiyah members. The Head of Batam Religious Tolerance Forum (Forum Kerukunan Umat Beragama, FKUB), a representative of the Indonesian Ulema Council (Majelis Ulama Indonesia, MUI) and the Head of Jamaah Ahmadiyah Indonesia (JAI) in Batam were later asked to come to police station. The intimidation and threats against the Ahmadiyah members were continued that the Head of JAI Batam was left with no option but to sign an agreement saying that the Ahmadiyah members will not hold any activities in Ruko Nagoya anymore.

I am deeply concerned with the fact that the police had not taken any measures to stop and prevent the intimidation directed by the FPI against Ahmadiyah in Batam. I am aware that what FPI has done against the Ahmadiyah in this case amounted to crimes thus should be punished under the Indonesian Penal Code. As far as I am concerned, since the FPI is not a part of law enforcement officials in Indonesia, its act taking Mubaligh Nasrun and other Ahmadiyah members to the police station should be considered as abduction and an unlawful deprivation of liberty. I am also aware that taking somebody’s properties are considered as theft under Article 362 of the Penal Code that FPI members who took away the books and Qurans from Ruko Nagoya should be tried and punished in accordance with the law. The intimidation and threats directed by the FPI to the Ahmadiyah members should be treated as a crime as prohibited by Article 336 of the Penal Code which carries a maximum punishment of five years imprisonment.

One of the main duties of the Indonesian police is to protect the members of the society without any discrimination. Therefore, I urge you to ensure that the police and other law enforcement officials providing adequate protection towards the Ahmadiyah in Batam and other parts of Indonesia. Those who committed violence, threats, intimidations or any other crimes against the Ahmadiyah should be tried and punished in accordance with the law. I also urge you to repeal any laws and policies which discriminate minorities in Indonesia, including the 2008 Joint Decree of the Religious Affair Minister, the Attorney General and the Home Minister that bans the activities of Ahmadiyah in Indonesia.

I look forward to seeing your swift, effective and adequate responses in this matter.



Yours sincerely,

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PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1.    Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
The President of Indonesia
Jl. Veteran No. 16
Jakarta Pusat
INDONESIA
Tel: +62 21 3863777, 3503088.
Fax: +62 21 3442223

2.    Ms. Harkristuti Harkrisnowo
General Director of Human Rights
Ministry of Law and Human Rights
Jl. HR Rasuna Said Kav. 6-7
Kuningan, Jakarta 12940
INDONESIA
Tel: +62 21 525 3006, 525 3889, 526 4280
Fax: +62 21 525 3095

3.    Mr. Suryadharma Ali
Religious Affair Minister
Jl. Lapangan Banteng Barat No. 3-4
Jakarta 10710
INDONESIA
Tel: +62 21 3811679
Fax: +62 21 3811436

4.    Mr. Gamawan Fauzi
Home Minister
Jl. Merdeka Utara No. 7, Jakarta 10110
INDONESIA
Tel: +62 21 3450058, 3842222
Fax: +62 21 3831193

5.    Mr. Basrief Arief
Attorney General
Jl. Sultan Hasanudin No. 1
Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta 12160
INDONESIA
Tel: +62 21 7221337, 7397602.
Fax: + 62 21 7250213

6.    Gen. Timur Pradopo
Chief of the Indonesian National Police
Markas Besar Kepolisian Indonesia
Jl. Trunojoyo No. 3
Kebayoran Baru
South Jakarta 12110
INDONESIA
Tel: +62 21 3848537, 7260306, 7218010
Fax: +62 21 7220669
E-mail : info@polri.go.id

7.    Kombes Pol. Karyoto
Chief of Beralang District Police
Baloi Satpam Jl. Jendral Sudirman No. 4
Batam
INDONESIA
Tel: +62 778 458 330
Fax: +62 778 456 763

8.    Mr. Ifdhal Kasim
Chairman of National Human Rights Commission
Jalan Latuharhary No.4-B,
Jakarta 10310
INDONESIA
Tel: +62 21 392 5227-30
Fax: +62 21 392 5227
E-mail : info@komnas.go.id


Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

Document Type :
Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID :
AHRC-UAC-086-2012
Countries :
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Extended Introduction: Urgent Appeals, theory and practice

A need for dialogue

Many people across Asia are frustrated by the widespread lack of respect for human rights in their countries.  Some may be unhappy about the limitations on the freedom of expression or restrictions on privacy, while some are affected by police brutality and military killings.  Many others are frustrated with the absence of rights on labour issues, the environment, gender and the like. 

Yet the expression of this frustration tends to stay firmly in the private sphere.  People complain among friends and family and within their social circles, but often on a low profile basis. This kind of public discourse is not usually an effective measure of the situation in a country because it is so hard to monitor. 

Though the media may cover the issues in a broad manner they rarely broadcast the private fears and anxieties of the average person.  And along with censorship – a common blight in Asia – there is also often a conscious attempt in the media to reflect a positive or at least sober mood at home, where expressions of domestic malcontent are discouraged as unfashionably unpatriotic. Talking about issues like torture is rarely encouraged in the public realm.

There may also be unwritten, possibly unconscious social taboos that stop the public reflection of private grievances.  Where authoritarian control is tight, sophisticated strategies are put into play by equally sophisticated media practices to keep complaints out of the public space, sometimes very subtly.  In other places an inner consensus is influenced by the privileged section of a society, which can control social expression of those less fortunate.  Moral and ethical qualms can also be an obstacle.

In this way, causes for complaint go unaddressed, un-discussed and unresolved and oppression in its many forms, self perpetuates.  For any action to arise out of private frustration, people need ways to get these issues into the public sphere.

Changing society

In the past bridging this gap was a formidable task; it relied on channels of public expression that required money and were therefore controlled by investors.  Printing presses were expensive, which blocked the gate to expression to anyone without money.  Except in times of revolution the media in Asia has tended to serve the well-off and sideline or misrepresent the poor.

Still, thanks to the IT revolution it is now possible to communicate with large audiences at little cost.  In this situation there is a real avenue for taking issues from private to public, regardless of the class or caste of the individual.

Practical action

The AHRC Urgent Appeals system was created to give a voice to those affected by human rights violations, and by doing so, to create a network of support and open avenues for action.  If X’s freedom of expression is denied, if Y is tortured by someone in power or if Z finds his or her labour rights abused, the incident can be swiftly and effectively broadcast and dealt with. The resulting solidarity can lead to action, resolution and change. And as more people understand their rights and follow suit, as the human rights consciousness grows, change happens faster. The Internet has become one of the human rights community’s most powerful tools.   

At the core of the Urgent Appeals Program is the recording of human rights violations at a grass roots level with objectivity, sympathy and competence. Our information is firstly gathered on the ground, close to the victim of the violation, and is then broadcast by a team of advocates, who can apply decades of experience in the field and a working knowledge of the international human rights arena. The flow of information – due to domestic restrictions – often goes from the source and out to the international community via our program, which then builds a pressure for action that steadily makes its way back to the source through his or her own government.   However these cases in bulk create a narrative – and this is most important aspect of our program. As noted by Sri Lankan human rights lawyer and director of the Asian Human Rights Commission, Basil Fernando:

"The urgent appeal introduces narrative as the driving force for social change. This idea was well expressed in the film Amistad, regarding the issue of slavery. The old man in the film, former president and lawyer, states that to resolve this historical problem it is very essential to know the narrative of the people. It was on this basis that a court case is conducted later. The AHRC establishes the narrative of human rights violations through the urgent appeals. If the narrative is right, the organisation will be doing all right."

Patterns start to emerge as violations are documented across the continent, allowing us to take a more authoritative, systemic response, and to pinpoint the systems within each country that are breaking down. This way we are able to discover and explain why and how violations take place, and how they can most effectively be addressed. On this path, larger audiences have opened up to us and become involved: international NGOs and think tanks, national human rights commissions and United Nations bodies.  The program and its coordinators have become a well-used tool for the international media and for human rights education programs. All this helps pave the way for radical reforms to improve, protect and to promote human rights in the region.