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Two rights activists indicted of defaming Minister Luhut

Jakarta Globe - April 3, 2023

BeritaSatu, Jakarta – Rights activists Haris Azhar and Fatia Maulidiyanti stood trial on Monday on defamation charges brought by Chief Investment Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan who was angered by a video content alleging his business deal behind military operations in Papua.

During the opening hearing at the East Jakarta District Court, prosecutors read out the indictment in turn, describing how Luhut was emotional after a staff showed him the video titled "Lord Luhut Behind Economic-Intan Jaya Military Ops Relations" at his office in Jakarta.

The video contains a conversation between the two defendants discussing an NGO report on mining businesses involving top officials and retired military generals in Intan Jaya, Papua.

Haris interviewed Fatia, who is the coordinator of the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (Kontras), an NGO focusing on human rights issues, about allegations that the current military operation in Papua was actually meant to protect mining businesses in the easternmost province.

"The witness, Luhut Pandjaitan, shook his head and looked emotional and he told the other witness, Singgih Widyastono, 'this is too much, the words 'Luhut does mining in Papua' are slanderous and false and really hurt my feeling'," one of the prosecutors said.

Before filing the defamation complaint against the two activists, Luhut had delivered a formal rebuke to both, the court heard. "Luhut Pandjaitan gave a chance to Haris Azhar and Fatia Maulidiyanty to make an apology but they refused to do so for many reasons," the indictment says.

Luhut also expressed discontent to be labeled the Lord in the video.

Prosecutors used the Electric Transaction and Information Law which carries a prison sentence of up to six years against the two defendants.

Haris said he didn't understand the indictment and told Presiding Judge Cokorda Gede Arthana that he won't accept that. The hearing is adjourned for the next two weeks.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/two-rights-activists-indicted-of-defaming-minister-luhu