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Disgraced judge Anwar Usman claims 'character assassination'

Jakarta Globe - November 8, 2023

Yustinus Paat, Jakarta – Constitutional Court Judge Anwar Usman on Wednesday alleged a conspiracy to tarnish his reputation after he was removed from his position as chief justice in the wake of the court's controversial ruling, which cleared the path for President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's son to become a vice-presidential candidate.

A day earlier, Anwar was stripped of his role as chief justice by the court's Honor Council for a serious breach of the ethical code and good conduct as a judge. The president is his brother-in-law, and he should have recused himself from the court hearing on a motion seeking to amend the age limit for presidential and vice-presidential candidates.

Jokowi's 36-year-old son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, was initially ineligible to contest the election due to the 2017 general election law, which requires a candidate to be at least 40 years old.

However, on October 16, the court added a phrase to the relevant article, stating that a candidate "must be at least 40 years old or must have served or be serving in a public position through general elections, including regional government leader elections."

Gibran, the elected mayor of Solo, became eligible, and soon afterward, he was selected as a running mate for presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto.

In response to public outrage triggered by the controversial ruling, the court established a three-member Honor Council on October 24 to investigate the alleged breach of the ethical code.

But Anwar said there had been an attempt to tarnish his reputation even before the council was established.

"I have learned from my own observations and from tips that there were attempts to politicize this issue and make me a target related to various rulings by this court long before the council was established," Anwar said during a news conference at the Constitutional Court building in Jakarta.

"Despite being aware of a character assassination scenario with me as the target, I maintain a positive outlook as a Muslim," he added.

The Honor Council, led by former Chief Justice Jimly Asshiddiqie, was clear in its actions. In addition to removing Anwar from the position of chief justice, the council also banned him from handling election disputes when there is a potential conflict of interest.

Furthermore, he cannot nominate himself in the internal election for the Constitutional Court's chief justice.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/disgraced-judge-anwar-usman-claims-character-assassinatio