Papua students in Yogya slam criminalisation of rights defenders Haris and Fatia

Suara Papua – January 7, 2024
Papua Solidarity for Haris-Fatia demand Haris and Fatia's immediate release – January 7, 2024 (WhatsApp)

Reiner Brabar, Jayapura – Papuan students in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta have issued a statement containing five demands in response to the ongoing trial in the East Jakarta District Court that has ensnared human rights defenders Fatia Maulidiyanti and Haris Azhar.

The Papuan students, who are members of Papua Solidarity for Haris-Fatia, stated that the case of criminalisation against Maulidiyanti and Azhar had reached its 28 court hearing.

At the last court hearing the public prosecutor demanded four years in prison and a fine of 1 million rupiah or an additional six months imprisonment for Azhar, and three years and six months in prison and a fine of 500,000 rupiah or an additional three months in prison for Maulidiyanti.

"The case of criminalisation that has befallen Haris and Fatia is a serious threat to truth and democracy and adds to the long list of criminalisation practices against human rights activists using the Information and Electronic Transactions (ITE) Law", the students said in reading out the statement on Sunday January 7.

The group emphasised that the defamation lawsuit brought against the two human rights activists by Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, is unacceptable because it pertains to a discussion on facts related to research information and reports.

"We urge the prosecutor and law enforcement officials to act in accordance with the principles of justice and professionalism".

This is based on the reality of what is happening in Papua. Since the discourse began on the discovery of gold deposits in the Wabu Block in the Intan Jaya district of Papua, the Indonesian government has deployed a massive number of organic and non-organic troops resulting in large-scale military operations.

As a result, civilians have fallen victim to shootings, others have fled their homeland, and some have died in refugee camps.

"That's why what was talked about by Haris and Fatia, about the reality that is happening [in Papua] is actually true".

The group explained further that the state's actions or policy in criminalising Maulidiyanti and Azhar will create a deterrent effect and spread fear making people reluctant to express their opinions, and is clearly not in line with the spirit of democracy and far from international human rights standards.

"The state should protect, not limit citizens' right to voice opinions and participate in democratic development."

Papuan Solidarity for Haris-Fatia is therefore expressing their protest and demands ahead of the final court hearing.

  • Free Haris and Fatia!
  • Stop criminalising Maulidiyanti and Azhar for speaking the truth based on facts and research.
  • Revoke the ITE Law which is easily used to criminalise human rights and environmental activists on the pretext of defamation.
  • Reject the Wabu Block operations in Intan Jaya district and all other forms of exploitation throughout Papua.
  • Stop military operations and withdraw all organic and non-organic military troops from Papua.

The hearing to read out of the verdict against Maulidiyanti and Azhar is scheduled to be held tomorrow, Monday January 8, at the East Jakarta District Court.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Mahasiswa Papua di DIY Tegaskan Lima Sikap Terkait Kriminalisasi Haris dan Fatia".]