Kontras Comments Not Criminal: Observers

Haris Azhar, the human rights activist who recently disclosed details of the alleged involvement by state officials in drug-related crimes, has hinted that he will reveal even more to the public unless President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo gives a firm undertaking that he will act to uncover the truth. (Antara Photo/Sigid Kurniawan)

By : Alin Almanar | on 11:47 AM August 05, 2016
Category : News, Crime

Jakarta. Revealing explosive allegations of state officials involved in drug trafficking is not a criminal offense, observers have said after authorities filed reports against a leader of a human rights group citing defamation.

Haris Azhar, coordinator of the Jakarta-based Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), last week revealed allegations leveled by executed drug convict Freddy Budiman that members of the National Police, National Narcotics Agency (BNN) and the Indonesian Military (TNI) allegedly assisted the convict in running his operations.

The claims were made via social media and messaging apps the day before Freddy was executed in July. Haris and Freddy previously met in 2014 at the prison island of Nusakambangan in Cilacap, Central Java.

All three named institutions reported Haris to the National Police earlier this week, accusing him of violating the law on electronic information and transactions.

"The institutions used their authority carelessly. The revelation is definitely not a criminal offense," Miko Ginting, a researcher with the Center for Law and Policy Studies (PSHK), said on Thursday (04/08). "Such an act is considered criminal if it meets two elements. The first is that it mentions the name of a person. The second is that it is not in the interest of the public."

Based on Freddy's testimony, Haris revealed that Freddy had given more than Rp 450 billion ($34 million) to officers from the BNN and Rp 90 billion to high-ranking officers from the National Police in kickbacks.

"The revelation reflected the interest of the public. But the moves by the institutions reflected their own interest," Usman Hamid, a former KontraS coordinator, said.

All three institutions, the National Police, BNN and TNI, said Haris had failed to provide direct evidence alongside his revelation and considered it defamation.

The National Police plan summon Haris for questioning in the near future.

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