The Voice of Fatia and Haris were Unstoppable, Finally They were Acquitted 

The win of Fatia and Haris, as Human Rights Activist Usman Hamid said, gives a new hope in the middle of the weakened democracy.

The activists’ loud cheering was heard from the courtroom after the judge read the legal decision for Fatia Maulidiyanti and Haris Azhar. They are two Human Rights Activists were not guilty. 

January 8th, 2024, the loud chant “We are together with Haris and Fatia” was heard in an entire courtroom until the outside part of East Jakarta District Court.

Picture 1. Fatia and Haris met reporters Monday (8/1/2024) after the judge appointed them as not guilty of the defamation lawsuit, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan. (Photo by Fiona Wiputri) 

“We want to thank all the lawyers taking this case. Currently, they are the highest law enforcement in Indonesia. They work with knowledge, skills, and impressive time management. This is proof of activism in the environment and indigenous groups.” Said Haris Azhar after acquitted. 

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“This is not the end of democracy in Indonesia. I want to thank bang Haris who always supports me. If we do not unite, I will not be standing here” said Fatia while crying. 

Picture 2 Solidarity mass action are waiting Fatia and Haris after the judge reading. They demant to enter the courtroom of East Jakarta District Court, Monday (8/1/2024) (Photo: Wiputri)

Command car outside the courtroom started to full with activist’s oration while inside the courtroom full of Human Rights Activists, Papua Activists, and human rights victims, such as victims of enforced disappearance, eviction victims, layoffs victims, victims’ family who became a part Kontras Kamisan action. They were united. 

Fatia Maulidiyanti and Haris Azhar were charged with defamation of Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, the Ministry of Maritime and Investment Affairs, last year. The indictment based on discussion presentation by both of them from collaboration research with Koalisi Bersihkan Indonesia, title “Ekonomi-Politik Penempatan Militer di Papua” – Economic-Politic situation of Military Disposition in Papua. 

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The discussion was live streaming through Haris Azhar’s Youtube. Next, Fatia and Haris were charged with defamation. The prosecutor prosecuted and sentenced them to 3 and 2.5 years in prison.

This case started in March 2022, or about two years ago. The first session occurred on April 3rd, 2023, and they were sentenced as not guilty nine months later, or on January 8th, 2024.

Picture 3: Fatia and Haris faced the judge’s decision on the charge of defamation against Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan. The judge sentenced them as not guilty (photo: Fiona Wiputri)

We met Usmad Jamis, ex-director of KontraS who worked as director in Amnesty International Indonesia in the middle of oration outside the courtroom.

Usman Hamid contended that the win of Fatia and Haris had some significance. There was a new hope for a new democracy in the current weakened situation, although it should be pushed, mainly because most activists chose to be silent. 

Furthermore, this case had significance for Papua. All judicial decisions showed the truth of research from nine organizations under Koalisi Bersihkan Indonesia, which were Pusat Bentara Rakyat, LBH Papua, WALHI Papua, Greenpeace Indonesia, YLBHI, WALHI Nasional, KontraS, JATAM, and Trend Asia.

“The judicial consideration shows a conflict of interest between the foreign business and Indonesia’s officials regarding massive shares. It should have further investigation,” said Usman Hamid to

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In addition, the judges indicated that the fight to critic government regulation should be free from discrimination.

“This decision proves that Indonesia’s officials often label NGOs as part of foreign business. On the contrary, the judicial consideration showed that there are people who are interested in getting involved with foreign companies.”

Currently, Indonesia still approaches foreign companies as an economic strategy. It impacted laborers and farmers, and Papua had trouble in business.

“Foreign capital management is sealed and brings the interest of Indonesia’s officials who are involved in that. Government should take control of it, especially for Papua’s economic system. 

Usman Hamid suggested stopping the use of foreign companies’ economic approach. Next, there should be no conflict of interest between Indonesia’s officials who invest in foreign business.  

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Picture 4: Poster and slogan in solidarity action for Fatia and Haris in front of East Jakarta District Court (Photos: Fiona Wiputri)

Vivi Widyawati, women activist from Perempuan Mahardika said that this win was not a present but the fight of victims with civil. In addition, Ilhamsyah, a labor activist, argued that the victory of Fatia and Haris showed the form of resistance and the unity of the silenced civil.

“This is the victory of silenced civil. The government should hear to Papua, don’t be repressive” 

After the judge, Yunita Penggu from Papua Student Alliance – Aliansi Mahasiswa Papua said that a critical voice couldn’t be silenced to express her expectations to Papua’s freedom of expression was always suppressed, but Fatia and Haris’s case was a victory.  

“Democracy spaces are silent in Papua. It can be ignored, trickery, and racist. Nowadays, there is no freedom to live.”  

Fatia and Haris Resisted Their Charge
Picture 5: Haris Azhar was still laughing before the judge started despite the charge of defamation of Luhut Binsar Panjaitan.

Fatia Maulidiyanti, ex-director of KontraS, and Haris Azhar, director of Lokatoru were sued for the first time after their 35 minutes talk show on Youtube titled “Ada Lord Luhut di balik Relasi Ekonomi-Ops Militer Intan Jaya! Jenderal BIN Juga Ada” – Lord Luhut is behind the economic relations with the Intan Jaya military! BIN General is also getting involved.

They were sued with defamation law and electronic information and transactions law. Even though they only discussed the research by several NGOs with WALHI Indonesia. The research revealed that the military operation in Wabu District, West Papua, was not for peace and security but to control ex-gold mine owned by Freeport Indonesia.

Several investors owned the investment in the gold mine in the Wabu district under MIND.ID, such as Toba Sejahtera Group, Antam Indonesia, Madina Quarrata’ain and Freeport Indonesia. Next, retired Indonesian National Armed Forces and polices also became a part or investor. It raised suspicions, including Luhut Pandjaitan as retired Indonesian National Armed Forces who currently become Toba sejahtera group commissioner and Marves coordinating ministry in Jokowi era. 

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In addition, Paulus Prananto, retired Indonesian National Armed Forces, and Widya Tampubolon, retired police, were also revealed in the research. Both were included in Bravo 5, who won Jokowi during the presidential election 2019.

“Tabacom Del Mandiri, a branch of Toba Sejahtera Group, invested by Lord Luhut. In addition, Luhut B Panjaitan also invests in Freeport Indonesia, an ex-military commando in Cenderawasih. Next, he, with Paulus Pranoto, Bin Muhammad Munir, Agus Surya Bakti as Indonesian National Armed Forces, Commissioner General Bambang Surya Bowo, and Donny Donardo, ex-the National Agency for Disaster Countermeasure involved in” said Fatia

Next, Fatia added that the military operation in the Wabu district was to simplify the implementation of mining permits. In her opinion, the indication of military operations for peace and security in Papua, including terrorism issues, was a lie. Nevertheless, there is an indication of the situation for the local community to evacuate and leave their customary land.  

“If we talk about Papua and gold mind permit, there should be under the permission of local people who live there”

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“However, many inhabitants have already evacuated because of the military operation,” said Fatia

Picture 6: The happiness showed by the audience of courtroom including Fatia and Haris’s family after they were acquitted, Monday (8/1/2024). (Photo: Fiona Wiputri)

Fatia emphasized that the government needed to revoke the manufacturer’s permission, Indonesian National Armed Forces, and police operation in Papua. Also, they should take action against Human Rights violators, mainly because the operation only became a cover-up.

“The starting point was internally displaced persons, by force. The real intent was economy but it was covered by reason of peace and security protection purposes” said Fatia

On March 22nd, 2022, police sued Fatia and Haris for defamation using electronic information and transactions law.

(Translated by Theresia)

Luviana, Salsabila Putri Pertiwi, dan Fiona Wiputri

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