Former chairman of Muhammadiyah's youth wing organization, Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak, center, undergo questioning in Jakarta as a witness in the case against Ratna Sarumpaet in October. (Antara Photo/Reno Esnir)

Proponents of 212 Movement Facing Legal Woes


NOVEMBER 30, 2018

Jakarta. It is nearly two years since thousands of protesters took to the streets of Central Jakarta to demand the arrest of then-Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama on blasphemy charges.

Members of the so-called 212 movement held a "reunion" of sorts at the National Monument on Dec. 2 last year, attended by incumbent Governor Anies Baswedan, to celebrate the anniversary of the 2016 rally.

They are set to gather once again for another reunion this Sunday.

The movement, which was formed under the pretext of defending Islam, succeeded in its true objective when it managed to bring down Ahok, an ethnic Chinese Christian, who was found guilty of having committed blasphemy by referring to a Koranic verse during a campaign speech. The controversial trial ended in May 2017 with him sentenced to two years in prison.

However, several of the most vocal proponents of the movement are currently facing legal woes of their own.

Ahmad Dhani

Ahmad Dhani seen during Monday's session of his trial in the South Jakarta District Court. (Antara Photo/Sigid Kurniawan)

South Jakarta District Court prosecutors sought two years' imprisonment for musician Ahmad Dhani on Monday for alleged hate speech, reported.

Dhani was named a suspect for posts he made on Twitter last year, which were seen as provocation to attack Ahok supporters.

In one of the tweets he made during the Jakarta gubernatorial election campaign, he wrote that "anyone who supports the blasphemer is scum and deserves being spat in the face."

This prompted members of a network of Ahok supporters to report the tweet, which appeared to be an indirect reference to the former governor, to the police, who opened an investigation into the matter.

The musician also faces separate charges for comments he made against President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo in 2014.

Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak

Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak, center, seen after questioning as a witness in the case against Ratna Sarumpaet in October. (Antara Photo/Reno Esnir)

Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak, former chairman of the youth wing of Muhammadiyah, Indonesia's second-largest Islamic organization, was questioned as a witness last week amid an ongoing police investigation.

Police are probing the alleged misappropriation of Rp 5 billion ($348,000) allocated by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs to the youth wings of Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama, the country's largest Islamic organization, for a youth development program.

Dahnil has denied any involvement in the technical aspects of the program.

"Related to the funds used for that program, I have mentioned from the very beginning that I was not involved," he said, as quoted by state-run news agency Antara.

Ratna Sarumpaet

The 69-year-old Ratna Sarumpaet is widely known as a theatrical and film producer, director, actress and writer in Indonesia. (Antara Photo/Reno Esnir)

Actress and activist Ratna Sarumpaet, who was one of Ahok's most vocal critics in the 212 movement, is facing a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison if found guilty of having spread false and inflammatory information.

The police declared her a suspect in an ongoing investigation into a political hoax, allegedly masterminded by Ratna, who lied about an assault in Bandung, West Java. This was subsequently used by the campaign team of presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto to attack his opponent, President Jokowi.

She was also among several activists, including Dhani, arrested in December 2016 for allegedly plotting a coup against the Jokowi administration.