Criminalisation of Indonesian HRDs continues– Police examine Haris Azhar, Fatia Maulidyanti and NGO activists

The police have examined the coordinator of human rights NGO KontraS, Mrs Fatia Maulidyanti, and the lawyer and director of human rights NGO Lokataru, Mr Haris Azhar as suspects. The police summoned both activists to come to the Metro Jaya Police in Jakarta headquarters on 23 March 2022. A team of lawyers accompanied Mr Azhar and Mrs Maulidyanti to the police interrogation.

An examination of NGO representatives took place on 4 April 2022. The head of the KontraS legal division, Mr Andi Muhammad Rezaldy, stated that the police questioned them for four hours. He and his colleagues handed over various pieces of evidence for the involvement of the incumbent Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Mr Luhut Binsar Panjaitan in mining projects in West Papua. The NGOs had tried to report Mr Panjaitan for alleged self-enrichment to the police on 23 March 2022, but the police refused to process the case, arguing they would not investigate corruption allegations.

Mr Azhar and Mrs Maulidyanti had already been examined by the police on 18 January 2022. Previously, police officers came to their private homes in the early morning to intercept them because both were twice absent after being summoned. The activists declared they had sent letters requesting an alternative date for the examination. However, the police never responded to the letters. Both activists refused to follow the officers without lawyers and later came voluntarily to the police headquarters.

Background

Mrs Fatia Malidyanti and Haris Azhar are facing criminal defamation charges. The former military general and incumbent Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Mr Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, filed the lawsuit after the human rights defenders discussed the findings of a joint research on relations between security force deployments and economic interests behind gold mining operations in the Papuan regency Intan Jaya in a video that was uploaded on Mr Azhar’s YouTube Channel on 20 August 2021.

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