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Jakarta Post

Police release two people caught selling hammer and sickle T-shirts

  • Callistasia Anggun Wijaya
    Callistasia Anggun Wijaya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, May 10, 2016   /  11:13 am
Police release two people caught selling hammer and sickle T-shirts Kebayoran Baru Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Ary Purwanto (center) holds up a T-shirt with a picture of an album by German-based trash metal band Kreator at the Kebayoran Baru Police station on Monday. The police released two sellers of the T-shirts, which picture a hammer and sickle resembling the logo of the defunct Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). (thejakartapost.com/Callistasia Anggun Wijaya)

The police have released two people detained for selling T-shirts with a picture of a hammer and sickle resembling the logo of the defunct Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) after finding no evidence of treason.

The Kebayoran Baru Police arrested Mahdi Ismed, 42, and Yosvita, 45, on Sunday for selling T-shirts of German-based trash metal band Kreator in Blok M Mall and Blok M Square in South Jakarta. They also confiscated 10 T-shirts.

However, no elements of treason or insult to the country were found, Kebayoran Baru Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Ary Purwanto said on Monday.

“From our investigation, the sellers sold the T-shirts purely for business purpose. So we won't detain them further," Ary said at a media conference on Monday.

Mahdi and Yosvita said they downloaded the album's picture from the internet to print on T-shirts. As they browsed through images on the internet, they found the cover of the album Kreator at the Pulse of Kapitulation Live in East Berlin 1990

Finding the album cover attractive, they downloaded the picture and gave it to a T-shirt factory in Bandung, West Java, to be used on 60 T-shirts.

They sold about 50 T-shirts for Rp 60,000 (US$4.50) to Rp 70,000 each depending on size.

Yosvita said she did not pay attention to the PKI-like symbol of the image. 

"We did not focus on the picture but on the band, which is Kreator. We never thought that it would cause a problem," Yosvita told journalists.

The police plan to investigate the T-shirt manufacturer in Bandung and stop it from distributing more of the T-shirts, Ary said.

Hard-line groups have protested the perceived rise of communism ever since efforts by relatives and victims of the 1965 communist purge sought justice from the government. A number of events, shows and discussions on the 1965 purge have been shut down since last year amid attempts to reveal the truth behind Indonesia's dark past.

The latest uproar was aimed at the third Asean Literary Festival in Jakarta last week in which protestors accused the event of aiming to promote communism and demanded the annual event be shut down following discussions planned on the 1965 tragedy and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues. The event continued under police guard. (rin)

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