Claims that police have special unit to criminalise critical, opposition groups

Source – December 28, 2022
PBHI Chairperson Julius Ibrani speaking to reporters – Undated (Detik)

Adhyasta Dirgantara, Jakarta – Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI) Chairperson Julius Ibrani says that law enforcement officials have a special team tasked with criminalising critical and opposition groups in Indonesia.

This was conveyed by Ibrani during an end of year notes discussion on the state of law enforcement in Indonesia in 2022.

Initially, Ibrani said that in general the formative character of Indonesian law, both in terms of the apparatus, enforcement, handling and prosecution of cases obviously smacks of politics.

This is because critical and opposition groups often criticise the government and President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

"So that's what first of all colours it. Now, it isn't surprising then if a new RKUHP [Draft Criminal Code] was born that is claimed to be a decolonialisation, but is instead over-colonialisation. Therefore, the contents were over-criminalising", said Ibrani in Tebet, South Jakarta, on Tuesday December 27.

Ibrani explained that in early 2022 the criminalization of anti-government groups was very high. According to Ibrani, there was a similar pattern in the criminalisation of opposition groups.

"And the pattern was always similar. The issue is made viral, sensationalised, an uproar's created by buzzer groups. And we know that these buzzer groups are paid for out of the state budget, which pays them regular wages", he said.

After this, government officials who were criticised reported those who criticised them using the Information and Electronic Transaction (ITE) Law for alleged defamation.

Yet, said Ibrani, what was criticised were the positions held by officials because of their poor performance.

So based on this, Ibrani sees that law enforcement and the various kinds of human rights violations by the police have been institutionalised.

He suspects that the police have a special team that is indeed tasked with criminalising opposition groups.

"There is a special team to monitor critical groups, opposition groups, then act rapidly and concisely against them. So it quickly finds its way into the courts, then they're found guilty", said Ibrani.

"If they (the opposition), (appear) in public, burst onto the surface, they get a pounding. Therefore it's institutionalised. There's a satgassus [special task force]", he added.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Aparat Disebut Punya Tim Khusus untuk Kriminalisasi Kelompok Kritis dan Oposisi".]