- Discover Indonesia Online

You are currently in > Just a blog about Indonesia > Indonesia piling up political prisoners again

Indonesia piling up political prisoners again JAKARTA - TWO of the world’s largest human rights organizations say that the government of Indonesian President Megawati Sukar­noputri is filling the country’s jails once again with political prisoners, only five years after all prisoners of conscience were released with the ouster of former President Suharto.
In separate reports released last week, London-based Amnesty International and New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) called for the release of all political prisoners and the repeal of Suharto-era legislation used to prosecute and imprison activists who are merely engaged in peaceful political expression.
“Moves toward greater political freedoms and respect for freedom of expression are being undermined by the prosecution and imprisonment of peaceful political, labor, independence and other activists,” said Brad Adams, the director of HRW’s Asia division.
“With less than one year to go before Indonesia’s first direct presidential election, to be locking up individuals who criticize the government is an alarming development for the electoral process,” he added.

Greater freedoms?

Since, 1998, according to the two reports, at least 46 people have been imprisoned for political expression–39 of them since Megawati became president two years ago.
The increased repression, according to the reports, is taking place behind a veneer of a new democratic government and greater freedoms than existed during the Suharto period. In many ways, according to activists interviewed by the two groups, that makes the trend more difficult to fight.
“Under Suharto, there were thousands of political prisoners and everyone knew about it,” said defense lawyer Habib Rachman, who was interviewed by HRW. “People would go to the prisons every day to visit them out of solidarity. Now, no one knows about it and they are forgotten.”
Most human rights concerns are instead focused on the situation in rebellious Aceh province where the armed forces (TNI) launched what is being described as a brutal counterinsurgency operation in May. Although journalists–except those who have been “embedded” with TNI forces–have been excluded from the natural gas-rich province, reports of hundreds killed and scores detained, beaten and tortured have leaked out in recent weeks amid growing concern among both Indonesian and international human rights groups.
But attention should also be paid to what is happening to ordinary political activists who are being prosecuted in Jakarta itself under provisions that still exist in the country’s criminal code that, for example, punishes “insulting the President or Vice President” with up to six years’ imprisonment. Other crimes under the act include “sowing hate” against the government.

‘Spreading hatred’

Since late 1992, according to the two groups, at least 14 political activists have been sentenced to prison and three others are facing trial under the law. In most cases, the defendants have been arrested after they participated in peaceful political demonstrations.
“Repressive legislation used under the authoritarian regime of former President Suharto has no place in a country which claims to be set on a path towards a fully-fledged democracy,” said Ingrid Massage, who heads Amnesty’s Asia and Pacific Program.
Last October, Nanag and Muzakkir, two young political activists, were found guilty by a Jakarata court and sentenced to one year in prison after expressing their dissatisfaction with the pace of political reform by stamping on pictures of Megawati and her vice president, Hamzah Haz.
Their treatment provoked a major debate in the domestic media about the implications of the prosecution. An investigation launched by Human Rights Watch, however, found that they were neither the first nor the last to be prosecuted under the laws that actually date from the colonial period.
This spring, for example, Ignatius Mahendra, chairman of the Yogyakarta branch of the National Democratic Students’ League, and Yoyok Eko Widodo, a member of the Street Buskers Union, were among the latest to be imprisoned under charges of insulting the executive. Each was sentenced to three years in prison after being found guilty of burning portraits of the president and vice-president.
Last week, Muhammed Nazar, a political activist in Aceh, was sentenced to five years in prison for “spreading hatred against the government” by participating in peaceful pro-independence meetings earlier this year.

Next year’s elections

Draconian colonial-era laws–which most Indonesians assumed had been relegated to the dustbin of history–in the Indonesian Criminal Code have been dredged up to facilitate politically motivated prosecutions, and once again are being used as a political tool to silence dissent,” the HRW report said. It added that the trend was “particularly worrisome” in view of next year’s scheduled parliamentary and presidential election.
“The repeal of these laws is long overdue,” Amnesty’s Massage said. “Any legal provisions that criminalize peaceful political activities must be repealed as soon as possible.” She also called for Megawati to commit herself publicly to cease all such prosecutions which “call into question [the] commitment to a pluralistic society based on respect for human rights.”
The HRW report, entitled “A Return to the New Order?,” suggested that the prosecutions are related in part to her weak political position. She took office only after her predecessor, Abdurrahman Wahid, resigned, and she has come to depend heavily on the TNI as a major source of support, particularly given her uneasy relationship with the Islamic parties in her coalition government.
The military has used her weakness to enhance its political clout behind the scenes and promote new legislation that would further entrench its role and power in policing and other civilian functions. One proposed article would permit the military to take action against any activities deemed to constitute a threat to the nation’s sovereignty, or territorial integrity, without civilian or even presidential oversight.

Posted in Politics @ 15 July 2003 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

There are no reactions on this blog entry yet. Be the first one to give a reaction here!

Log in to write a reaction

You are not logged in to the website. You have to be logged in to write a reaction on this blog entry.

· If you already have an account, please login.
· If you have lost your password, please retrieve it.
· If you don't have an account yet, you can create one.

Add this blog entry to your email, your own blog, MySpace, Facebook, or whatsoever via AddThis:
Bookmark and Share

e-mail updates for this blog article

Login if you want to receive emails for reactions on this blog entry. You will receive an update as soon as a reaction on this blog entry is posted.

Your website for tickets in Indonesia!
Looking for e-tickets for flights in Indonesia? Here's your solution! Order your e-tickets at
· 2015, 28 entries
· 2014, 591 entries
· 2013, 750 entries
· 2012, 1061 entries
· 2011, 792 entries
· 2010, 644 entries
· 2009, 916 entries
· 2008, 504 entries
· 2007, 725 entries
· 2006, 1014 entries
· 2005, 723 entries
· 2004, 558 entries
· 2003, 525 entries
· 2002, 375 entries
· 2001, 162 entries
· gigolo
· jakarta
· blogger
Automatically generated every hour
· General (1205 entries)
· Economy (643 entries)
· Politics (574 entries)
· Accidents (561 entries)
· Terrorism (541 entries)
· Earthquake (539 entries)
· Volcanoes (387 entries)
· Crime (357 entries)
· Corruption (349 entries)
· Flooding (278 entries)
· Elections (276 entries)
· Travel (268 entries)
· Bird Flu (254 entries)
· Religion (242 entries)
· Tourism (239 entries)
· Oddly enough ... (219 entries)
· Violence (198 entries)
· Drugs (196 entries)
· Health (192 entries)
· Aceh conflict (191 entries)
· Environment (185 entries)
· Weather (171 entries)
· Military (168 entries)
· Protests (157 entries)
· Culture (106 entries)
· Garuda Indonesia (91 entries)
· C. Sulawesi conflict (86 entries)
· Human rights (82 entries)
· Forest fires (78 entries)
· Sidoarjo mudflow (71 entries)
· Power supply (64 entries)
· Ramadan (63 entries)
· PT Freeport (55 entries)
· Picture guess (48 entries)
· Maluku conflict (47 entries)
· History (37 entries)
· Dengue Fever (37 entries)
· Infrastructure (36 entries)
· Polio (35 entries)
· Mexican flu (35 entries)
· Website (25 entries)
· Media (22 entries)
· Nuclear power (21 entries)
· Sports (20 entries)
· Sexy (16 entries)
· SARS (15 entries)
· Nightlife (10 entries)
· Others (5 entries)
· Lippo Cikarang (5 entries)
· Close smallest categories
EUR-IDR: 16,590 · 16,620  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 17 May 2018 18:12 CET
JPY-IDR: 126.83 · 126.95  The Rupiah rate improved since yesterday
@ 17 May 2018 21:58 CET
MYR-IDR: 3,545 · 3,549  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 15 May 2018 08:42 CET
SGD-IDR: 10,479 · 10,501  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 07 May 2018 07:48 CET
THB-IDR: 439.14 · 439.41  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 16 May 2018 09:18 CET
USD-IDR: 14,097 · 14,157  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 17 May 2018 00:46 CET
Go to 'exchange rates' 
·  At 20 September 2018 06:54 erik12 reacted on Fuel prices lowered, again
·  At 19 October 2015 17:17 imambudianto5 reacted on Bank Indonesia maintains benchmark interest rate at 7.75%
·  At 04 March 2015 19:18 merdekaSah reacted on Alleged terrorists shot dead three villagers in Poso
·  At 04 March 2015 13:11 Yogya-Bali reacted on Alleged terrorists shot dead three villagers in Poso
·  At 26 February 2015 13:02 Irena reacted on Sexy, a young woman with candy
·  At 08 May 2014 09:51 jstar reacted on No alcohol should be sold in warung
·  At 01 May 2014 10:07 jstar reacted on Indonesia to be among the top 10 peacekeeping contributors
·  At 27 March 2014 05:50 harlys reacted on PPP leader voices concern over Islamic parties' future
·  At 10 March 2014 06:11 Yogya-Bali reacted on Sriwijaya Air leaves behind 200 passengers at airport
·  At 09 March 2014 00:11 Yerun reacted on Sriwijaya Air leaves behind 200 passengers at airport
·  At 08 March 2014 20:33 nicknick reacted on Sriwijaya Air leaves behind 200 passengers at airport
·  At 18 February 2014 04:17 Yerun reacted on Ash from Mount Kelud eruption spreads over all of Java
·  At 16 February 2014 05:41 Amed East Bali reacted on Ash from Mount Kelud eruption spreads over all of Java
·  At 14 February 2014 22:27 Anne Mieke reacted on Asylum seekers in Medan wish to be sent to Australia
·  At 14 February 2014 22:22 beritaislam reacted on Asylum seekers in Medan wish to be sent to Australia
·  At 16 January 2014 15:37 Anne Mieke reacted on Landslides cut off Tomohon-Manado road
·  At 16 January 2014 15:21 Yerun reacted on Landslides cut off Tomohon-Manado road
·  At 16 January 2014 15:05 Anne Mieke reacted on Landslides cut off Tomohon-Manado road
·  At 16 January 2014 14:48 Yerun reacted on Landslides cut off Tomohon-Manado road
·  At 16 January 2014 14:41 Yerun reacted on Landslides cut off Tomohon-Manado road
Go to 'forum topics' 

Created by · feedback & contact · © 2000-2020
Other websites by · · ·

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional 128,579,655 pageviews Discover Indonesia Online at