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Two activists facing jail sentences for alleged defamation of Minister Luhut

Jakarta Globe - November 13, 2023

Jakarta – Prosecutors on Monday recommended four years of imprisonment for Haris Azhar and three and a half years for fellow rights activist Fatia Maulidyanti in a defamation trial initiated by Chief Investment Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan.

The minister, currently undergoing medical treatment for an undisclosed illness in a Singapore hospital, filed a police complaint against the two activists concerning a YouTube video, in which they speculated about links between government "military operations" in Papua and Luhut's purported mining ventures in the easternmost province.

While reading the demand for Haris, prosecutors highlighted aggravating factors and asserted that there is no basis for leniency, requesting the court to immediately detain him.

Haris, they claimed, exhibited no remorse, irresponsibly disseminated misleading content on his YouTube account, misused his status as an activist, behaved disruptively during legal proceedings, disrespected the courthouse, and intentionally caused disruptions during hearings.

"There are no mitigating factors for the defendant," prosecutors declared.

Prosecutors presented similar arguments against Fatia, with the exception that she displayed good manners during court hearings and respect for the court.

Both activists are on trial for a now-deleted video titled "Lord Luhut Behind Economic-Intan Jaya Military Ops Relations." The video featured a conversation between the two defendants discussing an NGO report on mining businesses involving top officials and retired military generals in Intan Jaya, Papua.

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

According to court documents, before filing the defamation complaint, Luhut formally rebuked both activists and requested a public apology. He also expressed discontent with being labeled "the Lord" in the video.

Haris and Fatia reportedly rejected the demand, prompting Luhut to involve the police. Since the opening hearing in early April, they haven't been detained.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/two-activists-facing-jail-sentences-for-alleged-defamation-of-minister-luhu