A controversial article on preventive detention under a proposed anti-terrorism bill expected to be passed later this year has been dropped, lawmakers said on Friday (06/10). (Antara Foto/Wahyu Putro A)

'Guantanamo Article' Scrapped as Tougher Anti-Terrorism Bill Nears Enactment

BY :ALIN ALMANAR

OCTOBER 06, 2017

Jakarta. A controversial article on preventive detention under a proposed anti-terrorism bill expected to be passed later this year has been dropped, lawmakers said on Friday (06/10).

The bill is likely to be brought into a plenary meeting in December after nearly two years of deliberation that has come amid fears over a rise in militancy inspired by Islamic State.

The tougher government-proposed bill has drawn the ire of human rights defenders who have especially decried what has been called the "Guantanamo article."

The article would have allowed police investigators or prosecutors to pick up and place suspected militants in unspecified locations for up to six months without charge.

"The article has completely been removed in line with public demands," lawmaker Arsul Sani told the Jakarta Globe, adding that the article had been revised into what is called the "prevention article."

The article mainly sought to heighten deradicalization efforts, according to Arsul, a member of the working committee for revisions to the 2003 anti-terrorism law.

Most lawmakers staunchly objected to the article and the government itself eventually moved to scrap what they had earlier proposed, lawmaker Supiadin Aries Saputra said.

"It hasn't been discussed yet, but they already dropped it recently," Supiadin, deputy head of the committee, told reporters.

Lawmakers also earlier agreed on a pre-charge detention period of up to 21 days. This compares to the 30 days the government had earlier proposed and the seven days already stipulated under an existing 2003 law.

The period of detention with charge of 180 days under the 2003 law was also extended up to 200 days. The government had earlier proposed 450 days.

The government moved to revise the 2003 law in January last year, when Indonesia was on high alert after an Islamic State-linked bomb and gun attack in Central Jakarta that killed four.

Renewed calls for the immediate passing of the bill resurfaced in May, when an Islamic State-linked twin bomb attack in East Jakarta killed three policemen. It was the biggest since the January 2016 attack.

The 2003 anti-terrorism law itself was an immediate response to the Bali bombing of 2002 that was associated with the al Qaeda-affiliated Jemaah Islamiyah that killed 202 people.

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