Paris-Geneva, November 17, 2023 – Indonesia’s Public Prosecutor has requested prison sentences of up to four years with the aim to silence human rights defenders Fatia Maulidiyanti and Haris Azhar. The Observatory calls on the Indonesian authorities to immediately dismiss the case against Ms Maulidiyanti and Mr Azhar and to put an end to the judicial harassment against them and all human rights defenders in the country.
On November 13, 2023, during a hearing at the East Jakarta District Court, the Public Prosecutor requested Fatia Maulidiyanti, current Coordinator of the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS), FIDH Vice-President, and OMCT General Assembly member, be sentenced to three years and six months in prison and a fine of 500,000 Rupiah (30 Euros), and Haris Azhar, Executive Director of Lokataru, be sentenced to four years in prison and a fine of one million Rupiah (60 Euros).
The Observatory recalls that a defamation case against Fatia Maulidiyanti and Haris Azhar was initiated in August 2021, after Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime and Investment Affairs, and retired army general, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, sent them a subpoena in relation to a talk show video posted on Haris Azhar’s YouTube channel, in which the two human rights defenders alleged the Minister was involved in controversial gold mining activities in Papua Province.
As Ms Maulidiyanti and Mr Azhar refused to apologise, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan filed a police report on September 22, 2021, against the two human rights defenders alleging that both violated criminal defamation provisions, namely “attacking someone’s honour or reputation with accusations” and “defamation” (Articles 310 and 311 of the Criminal Code, respectively) and Article 45(3) of the amended Electronic Information and Transaction (EIT) Law. Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan asked for 300 billion rupiah (approximately 18 million Euros) in compensation. The trial of Ms Maulidiyanti and Mr Azhar began on April 3, 2023, before the East Jakarta District Court and 28 hearings have taken place since then. On November 27, 2023, the two human rights defenders are scheduled to submit their defence at the East Jakarta District Court.
The Observatory denounces the ongoing judicial harassment against Fatia Maulidiyanti and Harris Azhar, which seems to be only aimed at punishing them for their legitimate human rights activities and for exercising their right to freedom of opinion and expression, enshrined in international human right law, and particularly in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Indonesia is a state party.
The Observatory urges the Indonesian authorities to dismiss the case against Fatia Maulidiyanti and Haris Azhar, and to put an end to any acts of harassment – including at the judicial level – against them and all other human rights defenders in the country, and to ensure that they are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without any hindrance or fear of reprisal.