Al Araf fired for criticizing tank deal
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Al Araf, a non-tenured lecturer at the Indonesian Defense University, has been fired for writing articles that criticized the Indonesian Military’s (TNI) planned purchase of German-made tanks.
The rector of the state university, Lt. Gen. (ret.) Syarifuddin Tipe, said on Wednesday that Al Araf, who is also a program director of human rights NGO Imparsial, was fired for opinion articles that were recently published by The Jakarta Post and Kompas daily, among other newspapers.
“As a member of the faculty, Al Araf was part of our community and should have consulted his colleagues here first before writing in newspapers,” Syarifuddin told the Post.
“Not everything” Al Araf said was true, Syarifuddin added.
Al Araf had been reprimanded for one of the articles which alleged that there might have been “irregularities” in the government’s procurement of the Russian-made Sukhoi fighter jets.
“Then, he did it again by writing his critique on the procurement of the Leopard tanks. This is a self-inflicted injury,” Syarifuddin said.
Al Araf said that he would not back down in his criticism of the government. “This is a repeat of the Soeharto-era style of pressure against free speech and academic freedom.”
Al Araf’s opinion piece titled “Will 100 Leopards be enough to defend our country?” was published by the Post on July 10, when German Chancellor Angela Merkel was in Jakarta.
In the article, Al Araf questioned the government’s decision to procure 100 refurbished Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks (MBT) for US$280 million from Germany.