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Rights activists ready to face trial for alleged defamation against Minister Luhut

Kompas.com - February 21, 2023

Tria Sutrisna, Jakarta – Human rights activists Haris Azhar and Fatia Maulidiyanti are ready to face trial on charges of defamation against Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan.

This was conveyed by Azhar's lawyer Nurkholis Hidayat in response to a statement by the Jakarta Chief Public Prosecutor (Kejati DKI) who said that the case dossier has been declared complete.

"Bismillahirrahmanirrahim, God willing Haris and Fatia are ready to face trial. If it [the case] really is presented before a court", said Hidayat when sought for confirmation on Tuesday February 21.

The Jakarta Chief Public Prosecutor (Kejati) earlier stated that the dossier on the defamation case against Pandjaitan has been handed over by Metro Jaya regional police (Polda) and is complete.

Jakarta Chief Public Prosecutor information division head, Ade Sofyan, said that the dossier in the case against the suspects Azhar and Maulidiyanti has already been examined by a team of prosecutors.

"It was P21 [declared complete] on February 3, 2023", said Sofyan when sought for confirmation on Monday February 20.

Currently, the Jakarta Chief Public Prosecutor is coordinating with the Metro Jaya police to complete the second stage in the process, namely the transfer of the suspects and the evidence.

"As to the time of the second stage of the transfer this is being coordinated with the Metro Jaya Polda. In principle, the Kejati DKI is ready for stage two", said Sofyan.

On March 19, 2022, the Metro Jaya regional police declared Azhar and Maulidiyanti suspects in a case of defamation against Pandjaitan.

The two were summoned for follow up questioning as suspects on November 1, 2022, almost seven months since the their initial questioning as suspects.

The case began following a discussion between Azhar and Maulidiyanti on the NgeHAMtam talk show titled "There is Lord Luhut behind the Economic Relations-Military Operations in Intan Jaya!! There are also State Intelligence Agency Generals!!". The video of the discussion was subsequently uploaded on Azhar's YouTube channel.

In the video, the two cite Pandjaitan as "playing a role" in mining businesses in Intan Jaya, Papua.

In a report by the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) and several other groups, four mining companies in Intan Jaya are alleged to be involved in these businesses, namely PT Freeport Indonesia, PT Madinah Qurrata'Ain, PT Nusapati Satria and PT Kotabara Miratama.

Two of these four companies, namely PT Freeport Indonesia and PT Madinah Qurrata'Ain, are gold mining concessions identified as having a relationship with the military and police, as well as Pandjaitan.

There are at least three senior officials with relationships with PT Madinah Qurrata'Ain. They are retired police general Rudiard Tampubolon, retired military general Paulus Prananto and Pandjaitan, also a retired military general.

Pandjaitan denied the accusations and issued a summons against Azhar and Maulidiyanti asking them to apologise. The request however was not fulfilled so Pandjaitan decided to report the two to the police on September 22, 2021.

Pandjaitan said that he decided to report them to the police because their statements in the video tarnished his and his family's good name.

"Yeah, because (Haris and Fatia) have been (summoned) twice, [but] don't want to apologise, I have to defend my good name, my children, grandchildren, right", said Pandjaitan at the time.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Haris Azhar dan Fatia Siap Hadapi Sidang Pencemaran Nama Baik Luhut".]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2023/02/21/15240261/haris-azhar-dan-fatia-siap-hadapi-sidang-pencemaran-nama-baik-luhu