Senior minister Luhut subpoenas rights activist over Papua mining claim

CNN Indonesia – August 28, 2021
Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan – Undated (CNN)

Jakarta – Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan has issued a subpoena against lawyer and human rights activist Haris Azhar over accusations that Pandjaitan is involved in the mining business in Wabu Block in Intan Jaya, Papua.

Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment spokesperson Jodi Mahardi said the subpoena was issued because a statement by Azhar tarnished Pandjaitan's good name. Mahardi emphasised that Pandjaitan is not involved in the mining business in the Wabu block.

"Because of the upload on the YouTube channel Haris Azhar indented to shape [public] opinion or make statements which are not true, tenuous, a character assassination, slander, an insult, tarnishing his good name and fake news that Pak [Mr] Luhut is involved in the mining business in Wabu Block", said Mahardi though an SMS message sent to CNN Indonesia on Saturday August 28.

Mahardi said that Azhar must explain the motive, intent and aim in uploading the video and Pandjaitan is also asking that Azhar apologise for the statements he made.

He said that Azhar's apology must be accompanied by a promise not to repeat his actions and this must be posted on Azhar's YouTube channel.

"We're only asking for an explanation and an apology. We feel that this is more than fair", said Mahardi.

Earlier, Azhar uploaded a video titled "Lord Luhut is behind the relationship between economic interests and military operations in Intan Jaya! There are also BIN generals", a reference to the State Intelligence Agency BIN.

Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) Coordinator Fatia Maulidiyanti also appeared in the video.

In the video, Maulidiyanti said that the company PT Tobacom Del Mandiri, a subsidiary of the Toba Sejahtera Group, is involved in the mining business in Papua. Pandjaitan is one of the Toba Sejahtera Group's shareholders.

"Shares in the Toba Sejahtera Group are also owned by one of our officials, his name is Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan (LBP), The Lord, Lord Luhut. So Luhut can be said to be involved in mining which is taking place in Papua today", said Maulidiyanti in the video which was uploaded on the HARIS AZHAR YouTube channel on Friday August 20.

Azhar meanwhile has said that the subpoena was issued on Thursday August 26. According to Azhar, he will respond to the subpoena in the next few days.

"Yes, it's true, I was subpoenaed. It was sent several days ago. In several days, I, through my lawyer, will give a response to the subpoena", Azhar told CNN Indonesia.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Luhut Somasi Haris Azhar soal Tudingan Main Tambang di Papua".]

Source: j