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Jakarta Post

Rights activists decry communism ban in Criminal Code amendment

  • Marguerite Afra Sapiie
    Marguerite Afra Sapiie

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, August 23, 2016   /  02:40 pm
Rights activists decry communism ban in Criminal Code amendment Judge I Wayan Merta (right) reads out a court verdict at Central Jakarta District Court on March 3. Rights activists slammed the government's draft amendment of the Criminal Code which still retains articles banning communism in the country, saying that the regulation is irrelevant today. (Antara/Widodo S. Jusuf)

Rights activists have slammed the government's draft amendment of the Criminal Code (KUHP), which still retains articles banning communism in the country, saying that the regulation is irrelevant in the present day.

The National Commission of Human Rights (Komnas HAM) commissioner Roichatul Aswidah said Article 219 of the Criminal Code, which stipulates that anyone who goes against the law by advocating communism can be sentenced to a maximum seven years' imprisonment, could be misused especially since the details were vague in explaining what actions constituted going "against the law".

Despite adding the provision to protect academic study and analysis of Marxist-Leninist thought, other articles covering the ban on communism, including Article 220 and 221, were open to multiple interpretations, she said, adding that the impact would likely result in more human rights violation rather than protecting the country.

"We should reflect on whether the [articles banning communism] is still appropriate for the present, especially because Criminal Code reform should really consider the transformation of the [political] context in the nation," Roichatul said on Monday, adding that the articles could be exploited as a repressive tool.

Meanwhile, Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) executive director Supriyadi Widodo Eddyono said the articles did not conform with the legal principles of a democratic system, especially since the ambiguous content deviated from lex scripta principles which is applicable in the Indonesian legal system. (dmr)

 

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