International legal groups demand end to prosecution of Veronica Koman

CNN Indonesia – September 14, 2019
Veronica Koman. (Screenshot via Facebook VeronicaKoman)
Veronica Koman. (Screenshot via Facebook VeronicaKoman)

Jakarta – Two international non-government organisations (NGOs), namely the Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L) from Holland and the Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) from Canada, have written to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo in relation to the prosecution of Veronica Koman.

They have asked the Indonesian government to halt the case of alleged incitement against Koman related to the recent riots in Papua.

“The L4L and LRWC respectfully ask that you: immediately cancel all criminal charges against Veronica Koman and end all investigations into the case and other measures which restrict her freedoms”, they wrote in a letter to Widodo dated September 12.

The letter was also sent to Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs (Menko Polhukam) Wiranto, the Department of Justice and Human Rights (Kemenkumham) and East Java police chief (Kapolda Jatim) Luki Hermawan.

Copies of the letter were also sent to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Interpol, the Dutch Embassy in Jakarta, the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Indonesian Ombudsman.

CNN Indonesia gained access to the letter on Saturday September 14.

The two legal institutions cited Article 15 from Law Number 18/2003 on Advocates (UU Advokat) which states that advocates are free to carry out the duties of their profession.

The duties referred to are defending cases for which they are given legal authority and holding to the professional code of ethics and prevailing laws.

The groups expressed the view that all cases of violence against advocates must be rejected, investigated and those responsible taken to court.

The L4L and LRWC also asked Widodo to ensure protection for Koman because after being indicted for incitement she has received death and rape threats. Threats which Koman also experienced when she was handling the religious blasphemy case against former Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama.

“Ensure protection for Veronica Koman, and guarantee that in all situations lawyers in Indonesia can carry out their legal practices free from threats, intimidation, obstruction, harassment, hindrance which is wrong or vengeful”, read the letter. (dhf/evn)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “LSM Asing Surati Jokowi Setop Kasus Veronica Koman”.]