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Former prisoners want articles on insulting the government revoked

Detik.com - December 12, 2006

Elistiawaty, Jakarta – Not satisfied with the Constitutional Court’s decision of only abolishing the articles on insulting the president, former political prisoners are demanding that the articles on insulting the government also be abolished.

The demand was made by some 20 former political prisoners and detainees including Sri Bintang Pamungkas, Parwan Parikesit and Beathor Surjadi during a thanksgiving and reunion of former New Order prisoners at the Joeang Building in Jl. Menteng in the Cikini area of Central Jakarta on Tuesday December 12.

“This meeting is a sign of our gratitude to God for the abolition of the articles on insulting the president. But what is more important again are Criminal Code Articles 154 and 155 that are in conflict with Article 28 of the 1945 Constitution”, said Pamungkas.

Article 154 is believed to be in contradiction with the Constitution because it is uncertain that someone criticising the government actually hates the government. “It’s strange right, people demonstrate to criticise in order to create a better state and administration. I think, it is precisely these people who love the state, not hate it”, argued Pamungkas.

The former prisoners are also seeking rehabilitation because of being detained or convicted based on the articles on insulting the president. They also plan to follow this with a historical book on their struggle.

Last week the Constitutional Court abolished Criminal Code Articles 134, 136 bis and 137 on insulting the president.

Article 154 of the Criminal Code reads, “Who so ever publicly declares sentiments of hostility, hatred or disdain against the Indonesian government, faces a maxim jail term of seven years or a maximum fine of six thousand five hundred rupiah”.

Meanwhile Article 155 Paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code reads, “Who so ever broadcasts, exhibits or displays writing or pictures in public that contain a declaration of hostility, hatred or an insult against the Indonesian government, with the intent that it is to be known by or better understood by the public, faces a maximum jail sentence of four years and six months or a maximum fine of four thousand five hundred rupiah”. (aba/sss)

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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