Rights activist facing jail time quotes from Nelson Mandela in defense speech

CNN Indonesia – November 27, 2023
Haris Azhar seated in court during defamation trial at East Jakarta District Court – Undated (Antara)

Jakarta – Human rights activist and defendant in a defamation case, Haris Azhar, says that the public prosecutor is representing the ruling elite in the trial against him.

This was conveyed by Azhar when reading out his defense speech (pleidoi) in a case of alleged defamation brought by Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan at the East Jakarta District Court on Monday November 27.

In the defense speech, which Azhar titled Getting out of the Ruler's Labyrinth of Censorship, he quoted from the words of South African human rights activist Nelson Mandela.

"A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones", said Azhar when reading out the speech.

After reading out the quote from Mandela, Azhar then said that the prosecutor trying the case is a representative of the ruling elite.

"In this trial I am aware that in its essence I'm not confronting a prosecutor but rather the elite in a system of power", explained Azhar.

Nevertheless, Azhar claimed that he still hopes that the judges in the case have a clarity of heart and can rule on the indictment fairly.

He hopes that the judges in the case can understand the message conveyed by Mandela that was quoted in the opening of his defense speech.

"I'm still left with a glimmer of hope that the noble judges can still hear the message echoed by Mandela and that this trial still has enough clarity of conscience to find true justice", said Azhar.

The public prosecutor has demanded that Azhar be sentenced to a four year prison term and a subsidiary fine of 1 million Rupiah or an additional six months in prison.

The prosecution has also demanded that the discussion uploaded on Azhar's YouTube channel titled There is Lord Luhut behind the Economic Relations-Military Operations in Intan Jaya!! There are also State Intelligence Agency Generals!! NgeHAMtam be deleted. (mba/gil)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Haris Azhar Kutip Nelson Mandela di Pleidoi Sidang Kasus Lord Luhut".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20231127114158-12-1029483/haris-azhar-kutip-nelson-mandela-di-pleidoi-sidang-kasus-lord-luhut