Crowned Miss Indonesia in 2006, Kristania Virginia Besouw, 29, says she felt like she had no choice but to give up her Indonesian citizenship. (Photo courtesy of Facebook)

Beauty Queens and Jihadis Leave Kalla Spelling Out the Law on Citizenship

BY :NOVIANTI SETUNINGSIH

MARCH 18, 2015

Crowned Miss Indonesia in 2006, Kristania Virginia Besouw, 29, says she felt like she had no choice but to give up her Indonesian citizenship. (Photo courtesy of Facebook)

Jakarta. Vice President Jusuf Kalla on Wednesday reaffirmed the government’s stance on the question of Indonesian citizenship, brought under scrutiny recently in two very different cases.

Kalla addressed previous comments regarding stripping Indonesians of their citizenship if they are found to have fought for a foreign force overseas, namely the Islamic State militia in Syria and Iraq.

“Anyone who fights for other countries will lose their citizenship. This is according to our law,” the vice president said in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Indonesia’s National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) says an estimated 500 Indonesians have joined IS, with some believed to have returned to Indonesia.

Anti-terror officials have expressed frustration with the lack of a legal basis for which to charge suspected IS members unless they have been involved in criminal activities at home.

Of eight Indonesians arrested in Malaysia in December last year allegedly attempting to reach Syria via Turkey to join IS, only one remains in detention.

The man, identified as Suyatno and previously detained on terrorism-related charges, has been charged in relation to past terrorism activity and identity document forgery — unrelated to the arrest in Malaysia.

The seven remaining people, including women and children, have been cleared of charges and released from detention.

Article 23 of Indonesia’s 2006 Citizenship Law identifies a number of instances in which an Indonesian would lose citizenship, including obtaining citizen status from another country after applying for it; not rejecting a citizenship status granted by another country; and joining a foreign armed force without the approval of the Indonesian president.

The latter case was highlighted recently after a former Miss Indonesia  beauty queen joined the US Army as a nurse — a move that comes with the promise of US citizenship.

Crowned Miss Indonesia in 2006, Kristania Virginia Besouw, 29, said she would prefer to hold dual citizenship, which is permitted by the United States but not by Indonesia. She said she felt she had no choice but to give up her Indonesian citizenship.

“If Indonesia allowed dual citizenship, that would be nice. But for now, yes, I am a citizen of the United States,” Kristania said.

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