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Haris and Fatia acquitted in defamation trial brought by Minister Luhut

Jakarta Globe - January 8, 2024

Nabiel Gibran El Rizani, Jakarta – The East Jakarta District Court on Monday acquitted two rights activists of defamation charges brought by Chief Investment Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan.

The activists, Haris Azhar and Fatia Maulidiyanti, were accused of defaming Luhut in a now-deleted YouTube video discussing security issues in the eastern province of Papua.

In November, prosecutors demanded prison sentences of 4 years for Haris and 3.5 years for Fatia for the podcast interview in which they speculated about links between government "military operations" in Papua and Luhut's purported mining ventures in the easternmost province.

But the panel of judges said there was no evidence of defamation and ruled that both defendants be acquitted of all indictments.

Both activists were on trial for a video titled "Lord Luhut Behind Economic-Intan Jaya Military Ops Relations." The video featured a conversation between the two defendants discussing an NGO report on mining businesses involving top officials and retired military generals in Intan Jaya, Papua.

In the video, Haris interviewed Fatia, the coordinator of the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (Kontras), an NGO focusing on human rights issues, about allegations that the ongoing military operation in Papua was actually intended to protect mining businesses in the province.

According to court documents, before filing the defamation complaint, Luhut formally rebuked both activists and requested a public apology. He also expressed discontent with being labeled "the Lord" in the video.

Haris and Fatia reportedly rejected the demand, prompting Luhut to involve the police. Since the opening hearing in early April, they haven't been detained.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/haris-and-fatia-acquitted-in-defamation-trial-brought-by-minister-luhu