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Statement on the arrest of Haris Musi Akbar

Human Rights Solidarity Action Committee - August 9, 1997

[The following is an abridged translation of a statement sent to ASIET by the underground Peoples Democratic Party]

Haris Musi Akbar was a student of the legal faculty of the Djuanda university, class of 1996. He is only 19 years old but even at such a young age had become critical and active in defence the people and justice. Haris' activism began with the Student Communication and Pro-democracy Forum (Forum Komunikasi Mahasiswa Pro Demokrasi, FKMPD). FKMPD was a study group who's target was only to discuss social and political issues in society. But after realizing that it was just a discussion group and unable to change anything, Haris became involved as a pro-democracy and justice activist.

On April 28, along with pro-Megawati Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) cadre, Haris attended a solidarity action for PDI figures who were accused of masterminding the July 27, 1996 riots in Jakarta. Haris had an understanding of the law and saw for himself that Indonesian law is only for those with power and money. At the trials of Peoples Democratic Party activists Haris learnt that there is no justice in this country.

Along with seven pro-Megawati activists, Haris was beaten and arrested by the authorities during a pro-democracy action. Five were released but Haris and Anom Winanto (a Jakarta UNAS student) and PDI cadre are still being held. They are both being charged under the "Hate sowing articles" (Haartzai Artikelen) which was used against political activists resisting Dutch colonialism. This law was used against political activists who resisted Dutch colonialism.

What happened in jail was inhuman. When Haris' parents visited, they had to pay 150,000 Rupiah. The culture of collusion and corruption has spread to all levels of the legal apparatus, so it is not strange that Edi Tanzil was able to escape from jail. Information was obtained that Haris could be freed for a bribe of six million Rupiah.

We from the Djuanda university and the Solidarity Action Committee for Human rights, question the legal process in Indonesia and demand:

1. That the Djuanda university rector resolve the case of Haris Musi Akbar and assist in his release;

2. The right to organise and express opinions, verbally and in writing, be given to the people of Indonesia, and they be free of military and government intervention;

3. Investigate the actions of the judiciary, prison officials, drivers and those who practicing corruption;

4. Demand the withdrawal of the Hate Sowing Articles and the left-over laws of colonialism which shackle the political rights of the people.

We invite all pro-democratic forces to show solidarity for Haris Musi Akbar and his comrade, Anom Winanto.

[Translated by James Balowski]