An Indonesian man running as a regional legislative candidate for the Islam-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) is now running from the law after grave accusations of sexual abuse involving his own child were leveled against him, leaving in his wake angry words of denunciation from his own party but also scathing reminders of PKS' attempts to block the passage of a bill aimed at helping the victims of sexual violence.
The suspect, identified by the police with his initials, AH, is listed as a candidate for PKS running in the West Pasaman District of West Sumatra. According to the West Pasaman Police, a report about AH's alleged crimes against his child was lodged with police on March 7 but authorities have been unable to locate the suspect since.
Police say the report, made by the alleged victim's grandmother, claims that AH began molesting his child from the age of three. The child, now 17, told the grandmother about the abuse recently, leading to her reporting it to the police.
Authorities believe that AH may have fled to Jakarta a week ago but did not mention any other leads.
Officials from PKS have already said they would ask the General Election Commissions (KPU) to have AH dropped from the list of candidates in West Pasaman as well as conduct their own internal investigation regarding the allegations.
But PKS' denunciation of AH's alleged crimes rang hollow to many who have noted that the conservative Islam-based party has also been attempting to block the passage of the Bill on the Elimination of Sexual Violence (RUU P-KS) – a draft law designed to both prevent gender-based violence and to give more rights and legal remedies to its victims.
PKS, as well as other ultra-conservative political and religious figures, have argued against the passage of RUU P-KS, claiming it would allow for "free sex" and "legalize adultery".
A spokesperson for the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI) – one of the country's youngest and certainly its most liberal political party – noted the hypocrisy of PKS' simultaneous denunciation of AH and opposition to RUU P-KS.
"This bill is desperately needed! How many more women need to become victims without legal protection? We must question the commitment of PKS to protect women. Do they reject RUU P-KS because they want to protect their legislative candidates?" PSI spokesperson Dara Adinda Nasution said as quoted by Detik today.
Proponents of RUU P-KS argue that its ratification is desperately needed to update the current archaic laws on sexual violence (which were drafted over 100 years ago during colonial times) and bring about more comprehensive legal protections and recovery mechanisms for victims.