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Jakarta Post

Filmmaker Dandhy Laksono named 'hate speech' suspect for tweeting about clashes in Papua

  • Arya Dipa

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, September 27, 2019   /   02:06 pm
Filmmaker Dandhy Laksono named 'hate speech' suspect for tweeting about clashes in Papua Activist and documentary filmmaker Dandhy Dwi Laksono (left) and then Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) chairman Suwarjono during a press conference in 2017. ( Esnir)

Activist and documentary filmmaker Dandhy Dwi Laksono has been accused by the Jakarta Police for spreading hate speech after he posted about clashes in Jayapura and Wamena, Papua, on his Twitter account.

Dandhy was arrested by the police in Bekasi, West Java, at 11 p.m. on Thursday, after which he was taken to the Jakarta Police headquarters for an interrogation that lasted until 4 a.m. on Friday.

He was named a suspect of violating Article 28 and Article 45 of the Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law and accused of spreading information aimed at fueling hatred based on ethnicity, religion or race.

“In usual [practice], there should have been a summons [to testify] as a witness, but at about 11 p.m. [the police] suddenly handed me an arrest warrant,” Dandhy said after the questioning.

Dandhy’s lawyer Alghiffari Aqsa questioned the police’s decision to name his client a suspect, saying that the articles — which had been slammed by critics and activists for their potential to criminalize criticism — were irrelevant.

“The [information] that Dandhy wrote [on Twitter] is part of his freedom of expression in conveying his opinion on what happens in Papua,” Alghiffari said on Wednesday.

On Sept. 23, Dandhy wrote a thread on his Twitter account @Dandhy_Laksono about the clashes in Jayapura and Wamena, in which he posted the photo of students who were allegedly shot by bullets during the incident.

“JAYAPURA [photo 1] Papuan university students in exodus from campuses across Indonesia opened a crisis center in [Cendrawasih University]. Authorities pick them up from the campus to Expo Waena. Riots. Some died,” Dandhy wrote in his post.

“WAMENA [photo 2]. High school students protest against racism by a teacher. [Security] apparatus handle them. The city is in chaos. Many are wounded by gunshots,” he went on.

Violent unrest erupted in the two cities of Papua on Monday, with some senior high school students reportedly being attacked by security staff as they dispersed a protest.

Papua Police, however, said that the protest occurred because of “baseless” provocation among students about an incident in which a teacher allegedly called a student a “monkey” last week.

After being named a suspect, Dandhy was released by the police on Friday morning. The police’s decision to name him a suspect has been met by criticisms from human rights and press freedom activists, who argue that Dandhy was facing prosecution for expressing his opinion, which in fact is guaranteed by the 1945 Constitution. (dpk/afr)