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Police to question rights activists again over alleged defamation against Luhut

Liputan 6 - November 1, 2022

Ady Anugrahadi, Jakarta – Police have again summoned Lokataru Foundation Director Haris Azhar and Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) Coordinator Fatia Maulidiyanti for questioning as suspects in a case of alleged defamation.

The case is being investigated after a report was submitted with police by Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan.

Metro Jaya regional police spokesperson Senior Commissioner Endra Zulpan has confirmed the summons saying that the activists are scheduled to be questioned at the Metro Jaya regional police headquarters today on Tuesday November 1.

"I've already checked, that it's true that today there will be additional questioning of those concerned", said Zulpan briefly when talking to journalists on Tuesday.

Separately, Maulidiyanti expressed her readiness to fulfill the summons as a suspect. "Yes (I'll attend)", she said.

The case began with a report by Pandjaitan submitted with the Metro Jaya regional police in September 2021. The report was registered as case STTLP/B/4702/IX/2021/SPKT/POLDA METRO JAYA, dated September 22, 2021.

Pandjaitan took issue with a video recording of an interview with Maulidiyanti which was uploaded on Azhar's YouTube channel titled "There is Lord Luhut behind the Economic Relations-Military Operations in Intan Jaya!! There are also State Intelligence Agency Generals!!".

Pandjaitan has denied this on several occasions. "I absolutely do not have any businesses in Papua, absolutely none, let alone those said to be mining businesses, which means plural, right, I don't have any", he said at the Metro Jaya police headquarters on Monday September 27, 2021.

Pandjaitan claims that on two occasions he sent requests to Azhar and Maulidiyanti so they could apologise for the video but they never responded. In the end, Pandjaitan decided to pursue legal channels.

Pandjaitan has said that he hopes this will be a lesson for everyone not to talk carelessly. He is sure that the truth will be revealed.

"So don't quibble about human rights or freedom of expression which creates difficulties for other people [me], you're not allowed to do that. And I won't stop, I repeat, I will not stop [trying to] prove that I'm correct", he said.

What Haris Azhar says

Azhar meanwhile says that there was no element of defamation in the YouTube broadcast objected to by Pandjaitan and that it was simply a discussion related to the public interest.

"Please have a look at the video and ask whether or not outside of that have I ever spoken about a person or whether I have spoken about their behaviour in the private sector, I haven't. I spoke in the public interest and it is the public's right to discuss matters of public interest", he said at the Metro Jaya police headquarters on Monday November 22, 2021.

Azhar also explained that the remarks on Pandjaitan's involvement in mining businesses in Papua were not just a figment of their imagination. He claimed to have evidence in the form of authentic documents, and that the number of documents has grown since the YouTube video circulated widely among the public.

"Because I didn't speak based on something that was untrue. I spoke on YouTube, I held an event on YouTube because there was a material reference, and the material I have is authentic documentation", he said.

Azhar however refused to go into detail about the authentic evidence that he has saying only that in essence there are allegations of corporate crimes which caused losses to the state and the public.

"If you know, the law of state finances in which there is state wealth, the wealth of the state is not just cars, buildings, but something contained in the earth that is the wealth of the state", he said.

In the public interest

Because of this, he is not concerned if the case of alleged defamation ends up in court. Azhar claims to have support from various layers of society to expose business practices which do indeed have a correlation with power.

"So if he wants to take it to court, I'll feel happy because the courts are an official forum and I can explain in this official forum about my documents, my findings", he asserted.

Fatia Maulidiyanti meanwhile denies that she damaged Pandjaitan's good name in the video saying the content was shown to explain the human rights situation in Papua as an aftermath of the infestation of extractive industries there.

"The statements I conveyed on Haris Azhar's YouTube channel were based on the results of research related to the political and economic situation in Papua. Where in fact this represents the public interest which must be exposed as widely as possible, in relation to the political situation and the alleged involvement of public officials in the extraction industry in Indonesia which is resulting in many human rights violations taking place in Papua today", said Maulidiyanti at the Metro Jaya police headquarters in Jakarta on Tuesday November 23, 2021.

Maulidiyanti claims that the content presented in the video does in fact represent the public interest and should be known widely. She had absolutely no intention of harming anyone let alone bringing Pandjaitan's name into disrepute.The content, continued Maulidiyanti, was also to test the state's openness on matters of the involvement of government officials in extractive businesses which are seen has having an impact on the human rights situation in Papua.

"All of it was purely with the aim of exposing the situation in Papua and providing information to the public about the real situation and also asking the state to settle human rights violations in Papua", she emphasised.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Haris Azhar dan Fatia Kembali Diperiksa Hari Ini Terkait Laporan Luhut Pandjaitan".]

Source: https://www.liputan6.com/news/read/5112868/haris-azhar-dan-fatia-kembali-diperiksa-hari-ini-terkait-laporan-luhut-pandjaita