Luhut Binsar Panjaitan’s Report of Haris Azhar and Fatia Maulidiyanti is a Serious Threat to Democracy and the Work of Human Rights Defenders

Yesterday (22/9), The Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, reported Haris Azhar and Fatia Maulidiyanti to Polda Metro Jaya. We consider this action to be interpreted as an attempt to criminalize one’s freedom of expression and opinion as well as to silence criticism of public officials.

Previously, both Haris Azhar’s Legal Team and Fatia Maulidiyanti had received 2 (two) subpoenas. On those summons, we have explained clearly and completely about the motives, intentions and objectives related to the content of Haris Azhar’s event and the statement made by Fatia Maulidiyanti. in the program of NgeHAMtam through Haris Azhar’s Youtube channel. 

In essence, we want to emphasize that the actions taken by Haris Azhar and Fatia Maulidiyanti are forms of supervision and control of civil society aimed not to Luhut as an individual, but rather Luhut as a public official based on the research findings with the title of “Political Economy of Military Placement in Papua in the Case of Intan Jaya” created by a number of civil society organizations [1]. The research was made based on concerns related to the escalation of armed conflict or violent conflict triggered by security and military operations.

If we take a look at the results of the research, it is found that there is a connection between Luhut and PT. Toba Sejahtra Group, PT. Tobacom Del Mandiri or PT. Tambang Raya Sejahtera and West Wits Mining which have the potential to cause a conflict of interest, considering that Luhut is a State Official as referred to in Article 43 paragraph (1) letter a of Law No. 30 of 2014 concerning Government Administration. Because of the findings of the connection above, Fatia Maulidiyanti through KontraS who was involved in the research has an obligation to convey it in the form of criticism of State/Public Officials as a form of public participation.

The content created by Haris Azhar and Fatia Maulidyanti’s statement at the program is nothing but a form of information delivery to the public and is a form of accountability for the research and studies that have been carried out, as well as an act of supervision and control of civil society over every step and policy taken by the public bodies, especially the government in order to form an accountable government as accountability leads to good governance and eventually, the guarantee of human rights.

Furthermore, we view that:

  1. Public officials are bound by legal obligations, in which they must be able to be criticized, if they cannot be criticized then there is no voice of the people in the running of the country, and if there is no voice of the people then there is no democracy. Moreover, the Constitution has guaranteed that everyone has the right in government affairs;
  2. What Fatia Maulidiyanti and Haris Azhar did cannot be categorized as a criminal act, as the actions they took were based on research based on facts or a reality and aimed at the public interest. According to the Criminal Code and the SKB UU ITE, this is not a crime. Moreover, both of them are human rights defenders who also fight for the right to a clean and healthy environment, based on the contect of Article 66 of Law 32/2009 on Environmental Protection and Management, they cannot be prosecuted criminally or be sued in a civil manner;
  3. The effort to report a criminal or civil lawsuit by Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan can be interpreted as a civil lawsuit against Judicial Harassment as it is unethical for public officials to prosecute criminals or even a citizen. These efforts show that the Government is anti-critic and reneges on the Government’s commitment to guaranteeing freedom of expression.

In our opinion, the criminal report directed against Haris Azhar and Fatia Maulidiyanti poses a serious threat to democracy and the work of human rights defenders. Human rights defenders should be guaranteed protection for their work, but they get attacks from public officials instead. This is not only seen in the cases of Haris Azhar and Fatia Maulidiyanti reported by Luhut Binsar Panjaitan as the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investments, but also in the cases of Egi Primayogha and Miftahul Choir from ICW reported by Moeldoko as the Presidential Chief of Staff.

Based on the description and explanation above, we urge for:

  1. The National Police Chief to encourages his staff not to follow up on the criminal reports by Luhut Binsar Panjaitan and Moeldoko as the actions taken by Haris Azhar, Fatia Maulidiyanti to Egi Primayogha and Miftahul Choir   are purely part of the freedom of expression, opinion, and the work of human rights defenders guaranteed by the Constitution and the law; 
  2. The National Human Rights Commission to issues recommendations related to the advocacy steps to ensure human rights defenders; 
  3. The Witness and Victim Protection Agency proactively provides guarantees of protection for Haris Azhar, Fatia Maulidiyanti, also Egi Primayogha and Miftahul Choiras human rights defenders.

Jakarta, 23 September 2021
Advokasi Bersihkan Indonesia Team

Contact Person:

  1. Julius Hebrew (081314969726)
  2. Muhammad Isnur (081510014395)

Notes to Editors:

[1] The Research of Political Economy Study of Military Placement in Papua The Intan Jaya (Kajian Ekonomi Politik Penempatan Militer di Papua Kasus Intan Jaya) can be found at: 2021/08/12/last-study-of-papua-revealed-indications-of-economy-in-a-series-military-illegal-operations-in-intan-jaya-papua/