Defendant Examination Trial in the Criminalization Case of Fatia and Haris: Haris Azhar Responds to All Charges and Describes the Worse Human Situation in Papua

Jakarta, 21 August 2023 – The trial process for Fatia Maulidiyanti and Haris Azhar has now entered the stage of examining the defendants at the East Jakarta District Court. The stages in the examination of the Defendants, which took place before the end of the examination of witnesses and experts, were very odd. However, Fatia and Haris are still willing to be examined in accordance with the decision of the panel of judges.

In this trial, Haris Azhar was first examined according to the order of the case register number. During the examination process, the Prosecutor collects information accordingly when the research was discovered, the subject who initiated the quick review, the title giver, contributors, research methodology, data sources, and various matters relating to the examination process. The prosecutor also confirmed the statements of the witnesses previously presented, such as Agus Dwi Prasetyo.

Examining the Defendant, Haris Azhar, showed that the Prosecutor was wordy and repetitive in their questions. One of the points that the Prosecutors always pursue is the intention of giving the title ‘Lord Luhut’ to the podcast on the Haris Azhar Channel account. Prosecutors only focused on the title ‘Lord Luhut’, which they considered inconsistent with the results of a quick review and dissemination conducted by civil society organizations. In fact, quick reviews and podcasts, of course, cannot be equated. Quick review (Which is entitled Economic-Political Military Deployment in Papua: The Case of Intan Jaya) is a scientific/academic product, whereas podcasts only contain relaxed and non-standard dialogues.

One of the important points in this trial also relates to the prosecutor’s suggestion that Haris was gaining profits from AdSense on YouTube. However, according to Haris Azhar’s statement, the profits were very small. In the entire production, Haris Azhar’s team suffered losses due to extra costs. However, this is not a problem because podcasts are really intended to voice humanitarian issues.

We highlight many questions posed by the public prosecutor that are considered ridiculous, such as whether the defendant asked for a letter of assignment prior to the podcast. Several questions were also not related to this case, such as the case when the Public Prosecutor asked about the presence of Fatia and Haris on the Podcast “Rem Blong Luhut Pandjaitan | Bocor Alus Politik dengan Haris Azhar and Fatia Maulidiyanti” organized by Tempo. The prosecutor even threatened to confiscate the Tempo video podcast. This is clearly one of the efforts to frighten people actively expressing their opinions. Apart from that, this statement violates the principle of freedom of the Press guaranteed by Law No. 40 of 2009 concerning the Press.

Another thing revealed that it was not only Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan who objected to the research and podcast results. Instead, other Public officials whose names were mentioned in the Quick Review raised their objections and asked for clarification. Haris Azhar also served all these objections. Furthermore, apart from Luhut, no one was mentioned in the research submitting subpoenas and conducting police reports.

Haris Azhar also said in his statement that the motive for raising the theme of mining in Intan Jaya was because this was a continuation of advocacy in 2020 when he became the head of the investigation team for the shooting of Priest Yeremia Zanambani. At that time, it was known that a series of violence continued to occur in Papua. General findings also show that the gold mining industry is growing. It doesn’t stop there, the mining industry has implications for the escalation of violence in Papua and continues to make victims fall, not only from the Papuan Indigenous People, but also from the Indonesian Army and Police. This must be disclosed, whatever the risk.

In this trial, we also emphasized that Haris and Fatia had been designated as human rights defenders by the National Human Rights Institution (Komnas HAM), so the judge had to consider this. In addition, Haris again denied Luhut’s accusation that he asked for PT Freeport’s mining shares. Even though it was clearly revealed that the request for shares was one of the advocacy steps in their capacity to assist the Amungme indigenous people. In fact, after the Luhut reporting case, support from the Papuan people, church leaders, and indigenous peoples has continued to flow. Likewise, various cases of human rights violations and environmental damage in Papua continue to emerge and become public discourse.

Furthermore, we deny that there was any commotion as a result of the publication of this podcast. Because there was not a single physical riot that appeared on the field related to the topic being discussed. In fact, the number of comments that were positive and prayed for the continuation of the advocacy carried out by Haris Azhar was not small.

The prosecutor wants to point out that the rapid review is not yet absolutely true, so there is room for improvement. In this regard, Haris Azhar replied that the YouTube platform has provided a complaint mechanism. However, until now, this is the first time anyone has used this mechanism. Likewise, the objection procedure can be taken at the Ministry of Communication and Information of the Republic of Indonesia. Even if the truth of the research is doubtful, there has not been a single study that also disproves the findings listed in the rapid review.

According to the prosecutor’s indictment, Haris Azhar refused to admit mistakes made in this trial. Haris Azhar remains adamant that the things conveyed in the podcast are part of freedom of expression and are supported by existing data. Due to time constraints, Fatia, who was supposed to provide testimony as a defendant, had to be postponed to the following week.

Nurkholis Hidayat, Fatia and Haris’ Law Advisor, stated, “Haris Azhar, in the trial, did not apologize and regretted this action. Because everything is delivered based on data and facts on the ground.”

“The information presented at the trial shows Haris Azhar’s good faith in dealing with humanitarian problems in Papua, which have claimed many victims and caused internal refugees. The Haris Azhar Podcast is only one way for the state to follow up on these human rights violations. So, no bad intentions at all. Furthermore, there has never been a research objection from parties who objected to answering the data in the civil society coalition. This examination also confirms that everything Fatia and Haris did was aimed at the public interest.” Said Arif Maulana, Advocacy Team for Democracy.


Nurkholis (Team Advocacy for Democracy)

Arif Maulana (Team Advocacy for Democracy)