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Jakarta Post

Semarang lawyer slams arrest of student for hate-speech against Jokowi

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, March 19, 2020   /   05:29 pm
Semarang lawyer slams arrest of student for hate-speech against Jokowi President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo (right) answers reporters questions at the State Palace in Central Jakarta on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020. (Presidential Press Bureau/Muchlis Jr)

The Semarang Legal Aid Institution (LBH Semarang) has questioned the Central Java Police’s detention and naming as a suspect a student of Surakarta Muhammadiyah University (UMS), identified only as ISS, for allegedly spreading hate speech against President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on March 13.

Etik Oktaviani, a lawyer from LBH Semarang who is defending the suspect, argued that the police had contravened the Criminal Code (KUHAP). Therefore, the legal team would take action to demand the police comply with the law.

“We found many irregularities when the police named ISS a suspect in the case and later held him in custody, as the procedures did not comply with KUHAP,” Etik told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

Etik described the police’s actions from the moment they arrested ISS until his detention at the Central Java Police headquarters.

ISS, she said, was arrested by the Central Java Police’s special crime investigation directorate (Ditreskrimsus) at his rooming house in Surakarta, Central Java, at around 2 p.m. on March 13.

The police accused ISS of spreading hate speech against the President through a social media post, which, paraphrased, read “the President only focuses on luring investment to the country but fails to improve the nation’s prosperity”. The police believe that the post violated Article 45A and Article 28 of the 2016 Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law.

Later, ISS was taken to the police headquarters in Semarang, Central Java, to undergo questioning at the same day from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m. After the session the police named ISS a suspect and detained him.

Etik lambasted the police’s decision to incarcerate ISS, despite failing to provide at least two pieces of evidence in the case, which is stipulated in Article 184 of KUHAP, as they only confiscated ISS’ smartphone.

Moreover, ISS only received a copy of a Notice of Commencement of Investigation (SPDP) letter, an arrest warrant and a suspect notification letter after the police named him a suspect.

Etik said the said police had violated Article 109 of KUHAP, which stipulates that a suspect cannot be detained unless the police gather at least two pieces of evidence within seven days after investigators issue the aforementioned three letters.

“We believe that all legal proceedings against him [ISS] are illegitimate,” she said. “It further proves that the police abuse their power as a law enforcement agency,” she added.

Etik went on to say that the legal team filed a letter on Wednesday, requesting the investigators to suspend ISS’ detention. However, the team has found it difficult to represent their client as the police have restricted visiting hours at the detention center.

“We faced a slight problem when trying to meet him since the police apparently have implemented extra measures [limited visiting hours] to curb the spread of the COVID-19 disease,” she said.

The police, however, remain adamant that they followed procedures when naming ISS a suspect and placing him in custody.

Central Java Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Iskandar Fitriana Sustisna said the police had questioned five witnesses and confiscated three pieces of evidence, comprising two smartphones and a screen capture of ISS’ Instagram post. The police believe the evidence is enough to hold ISS in custody, as stipulated in Article 184 of KUHAP.

“Our investigators have complied with the law when proceeding with the case. The suspect, however, can still file an objection [to the detention],” said Iskandar. (glh)