Egi Adyatama, Jakarta – The Indonesian Legal Aid Institute Foundation (YLBHI) chairperson Asfinawati laments the legal steps taken by the Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs and Investments Luhut Pandjaitan in filing a subpoena against human rights activist Haris Azhar. YLBHI believes this endangers the freedom of expression.
Asfinawati argues that a subpoena should be filed by the public against a public official and argues that the criticism from Azhar aimed at the minister is a reasonable form of public monitoring against the government.
She believes this will only further suppress the freedom of expression in Indonesia. "With the subpoena, people will think more than twice before criticizing the government," she said.
The YLBHI Chair suspects that Minister Luhut Pandjaitan took this option to intentionally garner public support and play the victim card. "This is clearly an attempt to suppress freedom of expression and instill fear on other people who plan to do the same."
As previously reported on Thursday, Minister Luhut Pandjaitan filed a summons against Haris Azhar and KontraS coordinator Fatia, which both had accused a retired military general of owning a mining business in Papua, which seems to imply Pandjaitan's involvement.
Luhut Pandjaitan's lawyer Juniver Girsang strongly denied the allegations and rebutted the claims, suggesting his client has a conflict of interest through the Papuan mining connection.