WE WON! FATIA AND HARIS WON! THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF PAPUA WON! Acquittal Verdict for Fatia and Haris as a Fresh Air and Hope to Democracy

Jakarta, 8 January 2024, The criminalization case against Fatia Maulidiyanti (Coordinator of KontraS 2020-2023) and Haris Azhar (Cofounder of Lokataru) has finally reached its verdict. Since this morning, the East Jakarta District Court was filled with security forces with a complete set of weapons as well as a huge number of tactical vehicles. There were also a  variety of units of security forces starting from the Greater Jakarta Metropolitan Regional Police, East Jakarta Resort Police, as well as Cakung sectoral police officers. Its units also vary, starting from the Mobile Brigade Corps, Directorate of Security of Vital Objects from the Indonesian Police, to the extent of Bhayangkara Samapta Corps and the Indonesian Army. This is clearly excessive, since the deployment of a huge number of security officers does not have such urgency, as the act is not in accordance with the Indonesian Police Regulation No.1 of 2009.

Previously, indictments were read by the public prosecutors where it underlined the fulfillment of criminal components to Haris Azhar based on Article 27 Paragraph 3 jo. Article 45 Paragraph 3 jo. Article 55 of the ITE Law Paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code. The indictment also pointed out the 4 years and 1 million Rupiah as a subsidiary to 6 months of imprisonment. Aside from that, the prosecutor also insisted that the Youtube Link to Haris Azhar be deleted on the internet. In the meantime, Fatia was to stated as guilty with similar articles as Haris. The indictment for Fatia was 3 years and 6 months of imprisonment.

In this verdict, the head of judge stated that the verdict will be read simultaneously for both defendants as the verdict was not read as a whole, but underlined the core parts. In the verdict reading, the panel of judges have stated that Article 27 Paragraph 3 of the ITE Law cannot be separated from the Constitutional Court and the Joint Decree of 3 ministers, Ministry of Information and Communication, attorney general, and the chief of the Indonesian Police.

Within their consideration, the panel of judges stated that the word ‘Lord’ was not categorized as a component of defamation. This is also similar to what Fatia said in the podcast which was ‘So we are also villains’, where the judges also stated that this was not directly classified as defamation.

Specifically in the ‘So it can be considered to be involved in the mining activity in Papua’ sentence, the judge assessed this as proven and undeniable since PT Tobacom Del Mandiri (PT TDM) is indeed a subsidiary to PT Toba Sejahtera where it has 99% of share by Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, where this is also aligned to the business exploration in Papua. The judge added that within the article components, none was proven that the defendants violated Article 27 Paragraph 3 regarding defamation or stated in the first indictment.

Furthermore, the judge also read out another article of the indictment, namely Article 14 of Law No. 1 of 1946 concerning hoax. In this article, the judge considered that PT Toba is the Beneficiary Owner (BO) as seen from the correspondence between Paulus Prananto and PT MQ as well as West Wits Mining for the Darewo project. So, what was stated by Fatia and Haris, which was based on the results of civil society coalition research, is not a hoax. Furthermore, the judge also considered that the podcast title ‘There is Lord Luhut Behind the Military Operations in Papua’ was not false news so that the second indictment was also not fulfilled.

Aside from that, in terms of Article 15 of Law No.1 of 1946 regarding criminal code and its relevance with chaos, in the second subsidiary indictment, referred to the publication made by Australia Stock Exchange, it was proven that there was also a business exploration between PT TDM and West Wits Mining. It is also undeniably true that PT TDM is a subsidiary of PT Toba Sejahtera, so Luhut benefits from getting regular financial reports. In this explanation, this article is also not fulfilled.

Same goes to the Article 311 of the Criminal Code as the third indictment in this case, the panel of judges have also elaborated the existing components. Just like the other articles, the judge stated that what Fatia and Haris did was not a violation of their honor and good name, but rather a fact so that the offense in the elements of this article was not fulfilled.

In his conclusion, the judge read that all the elements were not fulfilled, including the primary indictment, the second primary indictment, the second subsidiary indictment, up to the third indictment.

Based on this decision, Muhammad Isnur from the Advocacy Team for Democracy said, “this decision sends a message that we must continue to criticize, speak out, and express opinions. What the judge said was the truth, because it mentioned democracy and freedom of expression. This verdict sends the message that we should not be afraid and to not stop.”

The initial aim of this podcast is to help people in Papua who are still living in situations of violence and human rights violations.” added Muhammad Isnur.

Arif Maulana, who is also from the Advocacy Team for Democracy, also said that “what the panel of judges read in its decision acknowledged that the research from the civil society coalition was correct and must be recognized as a fact. This research states that there is a conflict of interest from LBP. “So, if we want equal laws, the police must investigate traces of the mining business carried out by Luhut’s company.

Arif Maulana added that “there is hope for democracy, we hope that the Supreme Court can be consistent if there is a legal action submitted by the Public Prosecutor.”

Contact Persons

Nurkholis Hidayat (Advocacy Team for Democracy)
Asfinawati (Advocacy Team for Democracy)
Muhammad Isnur (Advocacy Team for Democracy)
Arif Maulana (Advocacy Team for Democracy)