End judicial harassment against defenders Fatia Maulidiyanti and Haris Azhar
(Bangkok, September 23, 2021) The Indonesian government should end judicial harassment against human rights defenders Fatia Maulidiyanti and Haris Azhar, and defend the right to freedom of expression, said a group of human rights organizations humans.
“The Indonesian government must respect its international human rights obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) as well as its own national constitution which protects the right to freedom of expression,” the groups said. .
The groups urged the Indonesian government to ensure that all people can express their views without fear of reprisal and to ensure that its actions comply with Indonesia’s constitutional human rights protections and the ICCPR, including the Indonesia is a State Party. The National Human Rights Institution, Komnas HAM, must also work to ensure the protection of defenders facing judicial harassment, the groups said.
On September 22, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Indonesian Minister for the Coordination of Maritime Affairs and Investments filed a police report against human rights defenders Fatia Maulidiyanti, coordinator of the Commission for the Missing and Victims of Violence (Kontras), and Haris Azhar, founder of the Lokataru Foundation. The police report alleges that the two individuals violated the criminal defamation provisions (Article 310 (1) of the Criminal Code) and the controversial Electronic Information and Transactions Law (EIT Law). Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan is said to have demanded 300 billion IDR, or about 21 million USD, in compensation.
The report was filed after subpoenas were sent to the two human rights defenders , following a talk show on Haris Azhar’s YouTube channel titled ‘Ada Lord Luhut di balik Relasi Ekonomi-Ops Militer Intan Jaya !! Jenderal BIN Juga Ada !! ‘, (There is Lord Luhut behind the economy-military operation relationship Intan Jaya !! The General of the State Intelligence Agency is also there !!) in which Haris Azhar and Fatia Maulidiyanti discussed the findings of a multi-stakeholder report revealing the alleged involvement of active and retired Indonesian military officials in commercial operations of the gold mining sector. 
In the report, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan was identified as being affiliated with mining company PT Madinah Qurrata’ain, which holds the license for the Derewo River Gold Project in Papua’s Intan Jaya Regency province, located along the Derewo fault zone. , northwest of Grasberg and Wabu.
Through shareholding, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan is affiliated with PT Toba Sejahtera, whose subsidiary PT Tobacom Del Mandiri or PT Tambang Raya Sejahtra would have acquired 30% of the capital of PT Madinah Qurrata’ain. 
The report also recorded the escalation of violent and armed conflicts triggered by military operations, one of which occurred in the regency of Intan Jaya. The conflict has resulted in the deaths of civilians and the displacement of thousands of people, including children and women.
“The legal actions of the coordinating minister constitute judicial harassment and an abuse of power. It criminalizes the rights of these two human rights defenders to express their opinions on public affairs and creates a frightening environment for those who criticize the government, ”the groups said.
“We call on the Indonesian government to amend all repressive laws and legal provisions that hinder the protection of freedom of expression, and to ensure that the laws comply with international human rights standards. The criminalization of defamation is an inherently disproportionate and unnecessary restriction on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, under international human rights law.  Indonesia must immediately drop the charges against Fatia and Haris and take measures to prevent the misuse of prosecutions against human rights defenders and civil society who erode the exercise of their rights, ”they concluded.