Criminalisation of human rights defenders Haris Azhar and Fatia Maulidyanti: Jakarta police alleged to be biased

Multiple police officers showed up at the residences of human rights defenders Mrs Fatia Maulidyanti and Mr Haris Azhar in the early morning of 18 January 2021. They intended to escort the activists to the Jakarta police headquarters (Polda Metro Jaya) for an examination in relation to the lawsuit filed by the former military general and incumbent Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Mr Luhut Binsar Panjaitan. Mrs Maulidyanti is the coordinator at Indonesian human rights NGO KontraS (Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence) while Mr Azhar is a lawyer and the executive director of human rights NGO Lokataru.

Both activists refused to follow the officers at the time and came voluntarily to the police headquarters, at around 11.30 am. At the police headquarters, the investigating officers questioned them in relation to Azhar’s YouTube channel and joint research results about the involvement of security force officials in the mining business in West Papua. The interrogation lasted for about five hours.  

The director of the Jakarta police criminal investigation department, Mr Auliansyah Lubis, said the police officers were given the order to pick up the activists because both were twice absent after being summoned by the police. Mr Azhar and Mrs Maulidyanti declared they had sent letters to the police requesting an alternative date for the examination, as both were not able to attend. The police reportedly never responded to the letters.

Human rights observers in Indonesia allege that the Jakarta police are not taking a neutral position in the legal process against the human rights defenders. “We have the impression that the summons and legal process against Fatia and Haris are forced and rushed […]. The observation that members of the Jakarta Police came to Fatia’s and Haris’ house indicates that the police has become a tool in the hands of the state to intimidate citizens who criticise the government, officials and state policies“, said KontraS research coordinator, Rivanlee Anandar, in an interview with Suara Papua.

Background

Fatia Maulidyanti and Haris Azhar discussed joint research findings (see cover photo below) 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 Azhar’s YouTube Channel on 20 August 2021. Following the publication of the video, Luhut Panjaitan had twice sent a subpoena to the activists, asking them to apologize for the allegations raised against him publicly. Both activists refused to apologize for the video content.

On 22 September 2021, Mr Panjaitan reported the activists for the alleged violation of the Indonesian Electronic Information and Transactions Law (ITE Law) and the Indonesian Penal Code (KUHP) to the police. Panjaitan also announced filing a civil lawsuit against Mrs Maulidyanti and Mr Azhar, demanding the activists pay 100 billion rupiahs (about six million Euro) compensation for alleged defamation. During an interview in front of the police headquarters in Jakarta, Panjaitan’s lawyer announced the money would be donated to “the Papuan people” if Luhut Panjaitan wins the lawsuit.

Multiple attempts to settle the dispute outside the law under the mediation of the police have failed.

Advocacy Video against the criminalisation of human rights defenders Fatia Maulidyanti and Haris Azhar, published by the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta) and the Peoples’ Solidarity Caring about Justice (Simpul)

Detailed Case Data
name of the location:
administrative region: Indonesia, Jakarta
total number of victims: 2
period of incident: 18.01.2022
perpetrator: police, government(?)
perpetrator details: Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Mr Luhut Binsar Panjaitan
Issues: freedom of expression, human rights defenders
Sources: Suara Papua Further HRM News: Lawsuit filed by the former military general and incumbent Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment; https://humanrightsmonitor.org/news/update-on-criminalisation-of-hrds-haris-and-fatia-police-examine-haris-fatia-and-ngo-activists/

NumberName, DetailsGenderAgeGroup AffiliationViolations
1Fatia Maulidyantifemale?activistfreedom of expression
1Haris Azharmale?activistfreedom of expression

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