Devina Halim, Jakarta – The Coalition Against Criminalisation and Case Manipulation is urging President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Indonesian Police Chief (Kapolri) General Idham Azis to immediately release human rights activist Ravio Patra.
As reported earlier, Patra was arrested by police on suspicion of spreading provocative messages via WhatsApp. The WhatsApp account belonging to Patra however was reportedly hacked.
“President Joko Widodo and the Kapolri must immediately release Ravio Patra, end the process of criminalisation, and put a stop to silencing other citizens”, said Safenet Executive Director Damar Juniarto in a statement released on Thursday April 23.
Furthermore, the Coalition is also asking Widodo and Azis to stop attempts by certain unscrupulous individuals to hack the accounts of people who frequently criticise the government.
Earlier on his Twitter account, Petra criticised one of the president’s special staff members over an alleged conflict of interest involving a government project in Papua.
“The president and Kapolri must immediately halt efforts by certain parties to hack people’s devices and social media accounts who are critical and push the government to be transparent and work properly”, said Juniarto.
According to Juniarto, Petra, who is also a researcher on public policy, was arrested on Wednesday April 22 at between 9-10 pm.
The incident began with a complaint by Petra with Safenet related to a suspected hacking of his account on Wednesday afternoon. When Petra tried to open his WhatsApp account, he received a message reading “You’ve registered your number on another phone”.
He also received an SMS message asking him to send a onetime password, a message which is usually received by users to confirm changes made to their WhatsApp accounts.
Then, at around the same time, Petra received a call from an unknown number. “When it was identified through an application, the number belonged to AKBP HS and Kol ATD”, he said.
Petra also publicised the alleged hacking through his Twitter account. Two hours after this, he was able to re-access his WhatsApp account.
But he then discovered that the perpetrator of the suspected hacking had posted a provocative message using his account.
The message read, “THE CRISIS IS UPON US TIME TO SET THINGS ON FIRE! LET US GATHER AND ENLIVEN THE APRIL 30 SIMULTANEOUS NATIONAL LOOTING ACTION, ALL THE SHOPS NEAR US WE’RE FREE TO LOOT”.
Not long after he succeeded in re-accessing his WhatsApp account, Petra reported that an unknown individual had visited him.
Juniarto later said that Petra had informed him that he would “evacuate himself”. He was not however able to contacted again for more than 12 hours.
It was only on Thursday morning that Juniarto was able to obtain information on Petra’s alleged arrest. The Coalition is currently seeking more information on the matter.
“So far, it still isn’t known which unit arrested Ravio and where he was taken. A team of legal advocates from the Coalition Against Criminalisation and Case Manipulation is currently making inquires with the Metro Jaya regional police office”, said Juniarto.
Kompas.com has attempted to confirm the arrest with Metro Jaya Regional Police Public Relations Division Head Senior Commissioner Yusri Yunus. Yunus claimed that he would check the accuracy of the information on the arrest.
“I’m still checking because I’ve only just heard (the information about Ravio’s arrest”, said Yunus.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Masyarakat Sipil Minta Presiden Jokowi dan Kapolri Bebaskan Ravio Patra”.]