Budiarti Utami Putri, Jakarta – The civil coalition for ITE Law revision condemned the police criminal and civil report filed by Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan against Haris Azhar and Fatia Maulidiyanti.
The coalition argued that the report was a form of attack on human rights defenders by state officials who allegedly abuse the law for their own interests.
"We consider the criminal report and the civil lawsuit against Fatia and Haris as a serious threat to democracy and works of human rights defenders," said the coalition representative, Ade Wahyudin, in a written statement, Thursday, September 23.
Before Luhut, Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko also reported Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) activists Egi Primayogha and Miftahul Choir to the police. Moeldoko questioned the results of ICW's research which noted an alleged conflict of interest between him and the producer of ivermectin.
Ade said the rights of freedom of expression are guaranteed not only under international human rights law but also Law No. 39 of 1999 concerning Human Rights and the 1945 Constitution.
Such police reports, he added, have the potential to escalate into a Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP), creating an environment without democratic space and weakening the ability of human rights defenders to carry out their work and speak the truth to the authority without fear of retaliation.
"The reports further prove that the ITE Law, especially the defamation article, increasingly shows the asymmetric relationship, that those with power can use the ITE Law against weaker people," said Ade.
Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan reported activists Haris Azhar and Fatia Maulidiyanti to the Jakarta Metro Police on Wednesday, September 22. Prior to the police report, Luhut sent two subpoenas to the Lokataru Executive Director and the KontraS Coordinator.