YLBHI condemns arrest of 9 farmers over land dispute in new capital Nusantara

Kompas.com – February 26, 2024
Construction of VVIP International Airport at new capital city Nusantara – Undated (WIKA)

Sabrina Asril, Jakarta – The Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) has condemned the arrest of nine palm oil farmers in the area of the new capital city Nusantara (IKN) who were opposing the construction of the VVIP Airport in North Penajam Paser, East Kalimantan, on Monday February 26.

"The YLBHI condemns the actions of the East Kalimantan regional police who carried out the inhuman and arbitrary arrests, because it was done without showing an arrest warrant and did not clearly notify them of the reason they were arrested", said YLBHI Chairperson Muhammad Isnur said in a written statement on Monday.

Isnur said that the arrests can be categorised as a systematic act against communities defending their right to life. According to Isnur, the arrest of nine farmers by the police as a case of using the law to coerce the community.

"The police for the umpteenth time have used this method, in securing national strategic projects (PSN)", said Isnur.

Isnur said that the same thing had happened at the Rempang Eco-City project in the Riau Islands and in the case of a land dispute in Seruyan, Central Kalimantan.

"The actions of the East Kalimantan regional police violated the law and human rights, where any person who is arrested has the right to be told the reason why they were arrested and the police are required to show an arrest warrant", said Isnur.

Earlier, nine members of the Saloloang farmers group in North Penajam Paser (PPU) were arrested by the police on Saturday evening, February 24. The arrests were related a land dispute between a group of farmers and the IKN VVIP Airport national strategic project.

East Kalimantan regional police public relations head Senior Commissioner Artanto said that the nine farmers were arrested because it was said that they had threatened the IKN VVIP Airport construction project.

Artanto explained that on Friday February 23, a group of people approached VVIP project workers and threatened them so they would stop working.

The next day, on Saturday at around 8.30 am, the group returned to stop the construction of the VVIP Airport. The incident occurred on the northern side of Zone 2 when they brought mandau (a kind of sword made in Borneo) and the operators immediately stopped work.

"On the basis of the incident, field supervisors at the location of the planned VVIP Airport made an official police report with the PPU regional police on that day as well", Artanto said on Monday.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "YLBHI Kecam Penangkapan 9 Petani Sawit di Wilayah IKN".]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2024/02/26/21544181/ylbhi-kecam-penangkapan-9-petani-sawit-di-wilayah-ikn