A joint statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), Yayasan Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Indonesia, LBH Jakarta, Amnesty International Indonesia, KontraS, LBH PP Muhammadiyah, ICJR, TATAK, LBH Sulteng, YLBH Sisar Matiti Manokwari, Lokataru Foundation, PAHAM Papua, PBHI, PUSAKA, PAKU ITE, IM57+ Institute, Trend Asia, AJI, LBH Pers, WALHI, LBH Masyarakat, KIKA and AJAR (Asian Justice and Rights)
The criminalisation case of Human Rights Defenders (HAM) Fatia Maulidiyanti and Haris Azhar related to their criticism of public officials, is being increasingly forced. The legal process which took about one year and six months gave the impression of real doubts from the Police and the Prosecutor’s office in seeing as to whether there was an element of criminal activity in this case. On Monday the 6th of March 2023, the legal process against them entered the stage of handing over the suspects and evidence (Phase 2) from Polda Metro Jaya to the DKI Jakarta High Prosecutor’s Office.
In our opinion, the investigators from the Greater Jakarta Metropolitan Region of the Indonesian National Police (Polda Metro Jaya) and the Public Prosecutor from the DKI Jakarta High Court have made a mistake. The actions of Fatia and Haris cannot be criminalised because they are still considered legitimate criticism of public officials, as well as a form of public participation in the framework of Government oversight. This is regulated in Article 28E Paragraph (3) of the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia and Article 44 of the Law, No. 39 of 1999 concerning Human Rights.
This case should not have continued if only the Police and the Prosecutor’s Office submitted and obeyed the Joint Decree Number 229 of 2021, Number 154 of 2021, and Number KB/2/VI/2021 concerning Guidelines for the Implementation of the ITE Law which clearly and unequivocally stated that this was not a criminal offense if it is in the form of an assessment, opinion, evaluation result or a fact.
The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) Statement Letter Number 588/K-PMT/VII/2022 in July 2022 stated that Fatia and Haris were human rights defenders. When connected with the criticism of the two related to the environment in Papua, both are protected by Law, Number 32 of 2009 on Protection and Environmental Exploration, and Article 66 concerning the Protection and Management of the Environment which states that “everyone who fights for the right to a good and healthy environment cannot be prosecuted criminally or civilly sued.”
In addition, Chapter VI of the Attorney General’s Guidelines Number 8 of 2022 concerning the Handling of Criminal Cases in the Field of Environmental Protection and Management emphasises that if the actions taken are part of fighting for the right to a good and healthy environment, the public prosecutor must close the case by law by issuing a Decision Letter on the Termination of Prosecution (SKP2).
Therefore, we urge the DKI Jakarta High Court to stop this case for the sake of the law. If not, then this condition increasingly shows that law enforcement officials are also actors in narrowing the space for freedom.
The freedom of expression and opinion or the people’s critical attitude towards public officials must not be silenced by law enforcement officials through the application of rubberstamp articles.