YLBHI warns government’s legal team throwback to anti-subversion law era

CNN Indonesia – May 15, 2019
YLBHI Director Asfinawati speaking to the media – March 3, 2019 (CNN)
YLBHI Director Asfinawati speaking to the media – March 3, 2019 (CNN)

Jakarta – Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) Chairperson Asfinawati believes that the legal aid team formed by the Coordinating Ministry for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs (Kemenko Polhukam) will accelerate the use of the maker (treason, subversion, sedition) articles in future prosecutions.

“This [legal aid team] will become a kind of new vehicle which will accelerate [the use of the] maker [articles], in essence a kind of censorship body”, said Asfinawati at the YLBHI offices in Jakarta on Wednesday May 15.

She then explained that this could occur because the function of the team is to provide recommendations to law enforcement officials.

So according to Asfinawati, the team will also accelerate the law enforcement process against statements by people who are deemed to have violated the law. Law enforcers will not be prepared to reject these recommendations.

“How will the police be able to reject something recommended by the Menko Polhukam team”, she said.

Furthermore, said Asfinawati, the team has been formed in the context of numerous alleged cases of maker of late based on ideas related to threats against the state or government leaders.

According to Asfinawati, this kind of thinking was prevalent when Indonesia still applied the anti-subversion law when Presidential Decree Number 11/1963 on Subversion was still in effect.

Under this presidential decree acts of subversion included, among others, actions to distort, undermine and manipulate Pancasila or the state ideology; overthrow, damage or undermine state power or the authority of the legitimate government; and spread feelings of hostility or create hostility, disunity, conflict, disorder, upheavals or unrest in society.

In 1999 however, the law was repealed and replaced with Law Number 26/1999 on the Annulment of Law Number III/PNPS/1963 on the Elimination of Acts of Subversion.

“The imagined threats [under this law] against the state or against leaders or against the government have already been revoked. It should have been done with in 1999”, she explained.

Earlier on Friday May 10, Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs (Menko Polhukam) Wiranto officially established the legal aid team which is under the authority of his ministry.

The team, which was formed based on Kemenko Polhukam Decree Number 38/2019, is comprised of 24 legal experts and national police officers.

The team is tasked with studying and providing legal assistance related to remarks and actions which violate the law post the April 17 presidential and legislative elections.

Its other duty is to provide recommendations to law enforcement agencies to follow up on the results of the team’s legal studies. (ain/fea)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “YLBHI: Tim Asistensi Hukum Percepat Penggunaan Pasal Makar”.]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20190515221409-12-395265/ylbhi-tim-asistensi-hukum-percepat-penggunaan-pasal-makar