Responding to today’s indictment of two prominent human rights defenders, Fatia Maulidiyanti and Haris Azhar, Amnesty International Indonesia’s Executive Director Usman Hamid said:
“This disgraceful indictment will have a destructive effect on the work of human rights defenders in Indonesia.
“Instead of protecting the right to freedom of expression, the Indonesian authorities are obliterating civic space. These alarming indictments illustrate the increasing oppression faced by activists who express dissenting opinions.
“We urge the Indonesian authorities to immediately release Fatia Maulidiyanti and Haris Azhar. The right to freedom of expression must be respected and guaranteed.”
Today, the public prosecutor indicted two prominent Indonesian human rights defenders, Fatia Maulidiyanti and Haris Azhar, for defamation. The prosecutor demanded that Fatia should be imprisoned for three years and six months, and Haris for four years. They were deemed guilty after being sued by the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan.
The minister filed a defamation case against Fatia and Haris in September 2021. Both were charged by the police on 17 March 2022 with defamation under Article 27 section (3) of the Electronic Information and Transactions (EIT) Law. Amnesty International Indonesia has voiced concerns related to problematic provisions in Indonesian EIT Law, including this provision.
The police investigation relates to a YouTube video of a conversation between the two human rights defenders where they discussed the findings of a report on the alleged involvement of several military figures in the mining industry.
Amnesty International Indonesia has recorded that at least 1,021 human rights defenders were prosecuted, arrested, attacked and intimidated by various actors from January 2019 to December 2022. Meanwhile, there are at least 332 people that have been charged under the EIT Law, most of them accused of defamation, between January 2019 and May 2022.