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Environmental activist faces jail time for flagging damage to marine park

Kompas.com - March 22, 2024

Danur Lambang Pristiandaru – Environmental activist Daniel Frits Maurits Tangkilisan is facing 10 months in prison after being indicted under the Information and Electronic Transaction (ITE) Law.

Tangkilisan is an environmental activist in Karimunjawa, Central Java, who was reported by residents for the offence of hate speech over criticisms posted on Facebook in 2022 about illegal shrimp farms damaging a national marine park off the island of Java.

Tangkilisan's lawyer from the University of Indonesia Alumni Advocacy Association, Gita Paulina, said the charges by the public prosecutor (JPU) are far from objective and feel fabricated.

"Because it is suspected to be based on an element of dislike and not on relevant legal considerations", Paulina was quoted as saying in a press release by the Save Karimunjawa Coalition on Thursday March 21.

The alleged act of inviting, influencing, mobilising and playing one side off against another was not successfully proven in the trial.

It should be that proving these elements be in accordance with the joint decree by the Minister of Communication and Information, the Attorney General and the National Police Chief on guidelines for implementing the ITE Law.

Meanwhile, Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet) Executive Director Nenden Sekar Arum said that the public prosecutor clearly ignored the ITE Law guidelines.

Arum added that there is a suspicion that the case that has ensnared Tangkilisan is being intentionally framed as an ethnic, religious, racial and inter-group conflict (SARA)

Arum said that the case sidelined the main issue in Karimunjawa, namely environmental damage due to illegal shrimp pond activities.

Meanwhile a residents of Karimunjawa, Yarhan Ambon, said that the Karimunjawa coastal area has suffered significant damage since the shrimp pond activities started,

Together with the Karimunjawa Struggle Circle Community, Ambon advocated for opposition to the illegal shrimp pond activities for the preservation of the Karimunjawa coastal area.

Based on the facts that came out in the trial, the Save Karimunjawa National Coalition team believes that this is a case of criminalisation or malicious prosecution.

This is because the charges are far-fetched and are arranged haphazardly without a clear basis or fabricated.

The charges are considered to actually perpetuate illegal business practices that damage the environment and are far from the interests of fulfilling human rights.

Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) External Affairs Deputy Coordinator Andi Rezaldy said that Tangkilisan's indictment is a case of silencing the voice of civil society that is being facilitated by the state.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Kasus Daniel di Karimunjawa Jadi Bentuk Kriminalisas Aktivis".]

Source: https://lestari.kompas.com/read/2024/03/22/100000586/kasus-daniel-di-karimunjawa-jadi-bentuk-kriminalisas-aktivi