Rakhmat Nur Hakim, Jakarta – Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) Deputy Coordinator Rivanlee Anandar believes that the police's attempt to forcibly bring activists Fatia Maulidiyanti and Haris Azhar in for questioning shows that the police are a tool of those in power and was designed to frighten the public.
Police arrived at the private residence of the two human rights activists in order to take them in for questioning in a case of defamation against Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan.
"The arrival of Metro Jaya regional police at the private residence of Fatia and Haris further confirms that the police have become a tool of the state to frighten members of the public who criticise the government or government officials or official policies", said Anandar in a written release on Tuesday January 18.
Yet, said Anandar, Maulidiyanti and Azhar have been cooperative during questioning and have fulfilled previous summonses by police.
This can be seen from how on several occasions Maulidiyanti and Azhar have, through their lawyer, sent written requests to postpone questioning because they were unable to be present at the times set by police.
The police however have never given a serious response to the requests for the questioning to be postponed.
It is because of this that Anandar believes that the summonses and legal proceedings against Maulidiyanti and Azhar give the impression of being forced through and rushed.
If compared with many other cases, the police often delay acting on pubic complaints and many cases are left idle.
"Moreover not infrequently police refuse to deal with public complaints which has triggered the [popular] hashtag #PercumaLaporPolisi [it's useless reporting to the police] on social media. Meanwhile in the case of Fatia and Haris the police have acted incredibly fast in processing and following up on the report by Panjaitan", continued Anandar.
It is because of this that Anandar is asking the Metro Jaya regional police to holt the legal process and attempt at criminalisation by Pandjaitan against Maulidiyanti and Azhar.
He is also asking police to guarantee space for pubic freedom of expression, and in particular freedom for Maulidiyanti and Azhar to express an opinion.
"The police are not allowed to act arbitrarily and must stick with the commitment to safeguard democracy in Indonesia by implementing the law and policies which have been created in the public interest. Not in order to curb citizens' freedom of expression", said Anandar.
It was reported earlier that police officers arrived at Maulidiyanti and Azhar's private residences intending to forcibly bring them in for questioning at the Metro Jaya regional police headquarters in relation to a case of defamation against Panjaitan.
This information was conveyed by Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) General Chairperson Muhammad Isnur.
"This morning at around 8 am five police officers arrived at the residence of Fatia Maulidiyanti wanting to pick her up and take (Fatia) to the Metro Jaya regional police. The grounds for forcibly bringing her in was for questioning", said Isnur in an SMS message on Tuesday.
Maulidiyanti however refused to go with the police saying that she would come to the Metro Jaya regional police headquarters of her own accord at 11 am. Despite this, a police car remained at her house ready to follow Maulidiyanti.
"Fatia refused, and Fatia will go to the regional police at 11 am. Meanwhile there is a police car on standby to follow her", continued Isnur.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Kontras Sebut Penjemputan Paksa Fatia dan Haris Azhar Tunjukkan Polisi Alat Penguasa Takuti Masyarakat".]