Jakarta. A Jakarta court has ordered the state to pay Rp 1 billion ($71,900) in compensation to a dissident author who was jailed and had his works banned in 1996 under former president Suharto's New Order regime.
Wimanjaya Keeper Liotohe, author of human rights themed novels "Prima Dusta" ("Primary Lies") and "Prima Duka" ("Primary Pain,") was arrested and detained for around two years by the Suharto regime. His books were confiscated and banned during the period.
After the fall of Suharto in 1998, Wimanjaya filed a lawsuit against the Indonesian government and the Attorney General's Office, which was responsible for the arrest and book ban.
The long-running court battle has finally ended with the South Jakarta District Court ruling in the author's favor.
The court cited a decree issued by the AGO in 1998, revoking its earlier decision to ban Wimanjaya's works, which the court sees as an admission by state prosecutors that the author was wrongly targeted.
The court also pointed to the Indonesian Constitution and the 1999 law on human rights which guarantee freedom of speech and expression.
"The banning on the books was a result of the arbitrariness of the ruler at the time aimed at maintaining the prevailing political condition, thus the panel of judges concludes it was an abuse of power committed by the government," the court's panel of judges said on Thursday, as quoted by Detik.com.
The judges said the conduct of the regime caused both material and immaterial losses for Wimanjaya and therefore: "it is fair for the defendant to provide the plaintiff with a total compensation of Rp 1 billion."