Tri Susanti, the field coordinator of a protest that led to racist abuse against Papuan university students in Surabaya, East Java, has been named a suspect of hate speech, provocation and misinformation in relation to the incident.
National Police spokesperson Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo confirmed on Wednesday that Tri was named a suspect following the police’s preliminary investigation into the case.
Police investigators had received testimonies from witnesses and verified digital evidence, including a video related to the incident that made the rounds on social media.
“We have sent [Tri] an official summons. We have questioned 16 witnesses and involved experts [in the investigation],” Dedi said as quoted by kompas.com.
Tri was charged with articles 45A and 28 of the 2016 Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law as well as Article 4 of the 2008 law on the elimination of racial and ethnic discrimination, as well as Article 160 of the Criminal Code.
On Aug. 16, Tri led members of several mass organizations to storm a Papuan student dormitory on Jl. Kalasan in Surabaya after she heard rumors that an Indonesian flag had been defaced and discarded into a ditch near the dorm building.
The protest, which Tri previously said was staged only to “defend the honor” of the national flag, led to racial abuse being hurled at the Papuans and triggered widespread antiracism protests that lasted for days, primarily in the cities and regencies of Papua and West Papua.
At that time, Tri still served as the deputy chairman of Surabaya’s National Police and Indonesian Military Children Forum (FKPPI). However, the organization stripped her from her position and membership following the incident.
Dedi went on to say that the police had also requested the Law and Human Rights Ministry to issue a travel ban and prohibit Tri from traveling overseas. (rfa)