Ghina Ghaliya, Jakarta – Three student activists in Malang, East Java, have been arrested for alleged vandalism with the intention of provoking the public.
National Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Asep Adi Saputra said on Wednesday that the three students, identified as MAA, 20, SRA, 20, and AFF, 22, had allegedly damaged property by writing provocative words on walls in six locations.
"They aimed to provoke the public to fight against capitalism, which, according to them, is endangering the people," he said in a video published on the police's Tribrata TV YouTube channel on Wednesday.
Malang city police chief Comr. Leonardus Simarmata said they had confiscated several items of evidence, including two pieces of cardboard emblazoned with the words "Tegalrejo Melawan" (Tegalrejo Resists), motorbikes, three helmets, black spray paint and three cellphones from the suspects.
Asep said the three students had been charged under Article 160 of the Criminal Code on public provocation, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years' imprisonment.
"MAA was the initiator who bought the spray paint and wrote on the walls with SRA. AFF's role was overseeing the activity," he said.
The three have been detained at the Malang Police's detention facility since Monday, Asep added.
The Surabaya Legal Aid Institute (LBH) criticized the arrest of the three students, who they claimed were apprehended by the police and named suspects based on mere speculation.
Lukman, a member of LBH Surabaya advocacy team stationed in Malang, said that the three students were arrested at 8 p.m. on Monday by five police officers who accused them of involvement in an anarcho syndicalist group.
The students are activists who often took part in Kamisan protests – a weekly silent protest held every Thursday to demand state action on human rights abuses – including in assisting Tegalrejo farmers in Malang regency to defend their land against a corporation, he said.
He also opposed the police's charges against the three students. "We demand the three activists be released immediately because their arrests were flawed. This is a violation of justice," he said.