Jakarta – The Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) is questioning the legal grounds for the seizure of books about the banned Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) and communism in Kediri, East Java, on Wednesday December 26. The ICJR also criticised the involvement of the TNI (Indonesian military) in the raids.
The seizure of the PKI and communist books was carried out by a joint team from the Kediri district police (Polres), the TNI, and the Kediri regency National Unity and Political Agency (Kesbangpol). During the raid, the team confiscated around 160 books alleged to be about the PKI and communism.
The seizures were carried out after a public complaint and based on alleged violations of articles in the Provisional People's Consultative Assembly Decree (TAP MPRS) Number XXV/1966 on the Dissolution of the PKI and Prohibitions on Marxist, Leninist and Communist Teachings.
In an official release the ICJR also stated that the book seizures violate and are in conflict with existing legislation which stipulates that they can only be carried out after a court order has been issued.
The ICJR was referring to the Constitutional Court (MK) ruling which annulled Law Number 4/PNPS/1963 on the Securing of Printed Materials Whose Contents Could Disturb Public Order.
"Through decision number 20/PUU-VIII/2010, the MK annulled this law and declared that all seizures which had previously been under the authority of the Attorney General's Office (AGO) must be carried out in accordance with prevailing laws (the Criminal Procedural Code, KUHAP), namely through a court order and cannot be carried out arbitrarily", read the official statement on the ICJR's website.
"It needs to be investigated whether the seizures carried out were indeed based on an order from a local chief justice or not. If not, then of course the seizures that were carried out by investigators were illegal".
Furthermore, the ICJR stated that the TNI does not have the authority to be involved in book raids because in cases involving civil society, the TNI does not have any authority.
"The TNI is also not an investigative [institution] which has the authority to carry out law enforcement such as raids and seizures as was done in Pare. Because of this, the TNI must not be involved in law enforcement being carried out by police investigators", said the ICJR.
Based on reports by the Antara state news agency, the seizure of the books about the PKI and communism were carried out in the village of Tulungrejo in Pare sub-district, Kediri regency, in an area known as "English Village (Kampung Inggris).
Three book shops were raided, namely the Q Book Shop, the Ag 1 and 2 Book Shop and the Ab Book Shop.
The Kediri regency AGO stated that it will study the seized books as a preventative measure to anticipate the dissemination of books whose teachings are prohibited in the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI).
"We will see if it was in according with existing regulations, in accordance with the law on publishing. We are tasked with monitoring printed materials, so we cooperate with the Dandim [District Military Command], our policy makers will first study if the books with these titles contain (communist teachings) or not", said Kediri AGO Subroto on Thursday.
Subroto also said that the books will be examined to see if they are recent or old prints. If it is proven that they contain prohibited material, then the AGO will take legal action.
The ICJR meanwhile has asked Indonesian police chief Tito Karnavian and TNI chief Air Martial Hadi Tjahjanto to evaluate whether the raids and seizures were in accordance with prevailing laws, particularly article 38 of the KUHAP.
"To people who feel they have suffered financial looses, particularly book shop owners whose goods were forcibly taken away by security personnel, [we ask that you] report it to the police so that these arbitrary acts can be investigated", read the official ICJR statement. (wis)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "ICJR Pertanyakan Dasar Hukum Aparat Razia Buku soal PKI".]