TEMPO/Muhammad Hidayat

Crackdown on Opposition Leaders Has Chilling Effect on Free Speech

Responding to the arrests of three leaders of the Save Indonesia Coalition (KAMI), Amnesty International Indonesia’s Executive Director Usman Hamid said:

“These arrests are designed to create a climate of fear at a time when the Indonesian government is facing public opposition over the passage of the controversial Omnibus Law on Job Creation.

“The arrests clearly undermine the right to freedom of expression and could easily be seen as an attempt to harass and intimidate the opposition and critics. It is concerning that the three were arrested under the controversial Electronic Information and Transaction (ITE) Law which is being used to target online speech.

“The Indonesian authorities must stop intimidating those who criticize them and ensure full respect for the human rights of everyone, including opposition leaders.

“With this move, President Jokowi has gone against his promises on protecting human rights. The authorities must immediately and unconditionally release the three KAMI leaders, who have been targeted solely for exercising their right to freedom of opinion and expression.”

Background

As of Tuesday morning, the National Police has arrested Jumhur Hidayat, Anton Permana and Syahganda Nainggolan of the Save Indonesia Coalition (KAMI).

Media reports said police claimed the three leaders were allegedly violating the Electronic Information and Transaction (ITE) law with their social media posts. On Monday, the regional police in North Sumatra had arrested some members of the Coalition in relation to the Omnibus Law on Job Creation protests. The Coalition was established in August, initially in response to the Jokowi administration’s failures in handling COVID-19.

Over the past few days, the Coalition heavily criticized the new Omnibus Law on Job Creation. One of its founders, Din Syamsuddin, told media the law may have contributed to national disorder and passed without appropriate consultation.

Amnesty International Indonesia has recorded 49 cases of alleged intimidation and digital hacks against those who have actively criticized the government since February.