New offence: singing Indonesia Raya [national anthem] and To You My Country, can be a political crime.
JAKARTA (AJInews 31/3/98): As many had suspected, the pre-trial appeal of six of the accused in the case of those arrest at the "Indonesia Congress" was rejected by the judges at the North Jakarta high court. At the session held this morning (31/3), the judges unanimously rejected all of the accused's requests. As a result the accused remain detained at Polda Metro Jakarta.
According to the judges, the arrest of Ratna Sarumpaet, Ging Ginanjar and friends was legal. The delay in providing them with arrest warrants was, according to the judges, "only an administrative error". The judges ruled that those appealing had been proven to be carrying out political activities. An example of their political crimes was, said the judges, the singing of Indonesia Raya and To You My Country.
When the judges read out the part of the ruling that stated that "singing Indonesia Raya and To You My Country was proof of their political crime", one of the appelants, Wirahkusuma, shouted "Allahuakbar", which was echoed by those present. Besides singing the two songs, the other strong evidence of political activities was "the speakers invited [to the event] are political experts" said judge Soeparto, who headed the session of Ratna Sarumpaet and Wirahkusuma.
One of the accused's lawyers explained that the judges' decision, in ignoring the complaints of the accused, was illogical. In the case of Ging Ginanjar, for example, the judges rejected his complaint that he was present in his capacity as a journalist reporting a newsworthy event.
After hearing the decision to reject their complaints, Ratna Sarumpaet commented to journalists that justice was still a long way off, "Although I am physically in prison, my ideas about truth and justice will not be imprisoned", said the head of the theatre group Teater Satu Merah Panggung.
Meanwhile Petrus, one of the lawyers, said, "If simply singing is regarded as political wrongdoing, what can we do?" He asked this of the 200 or so people who attended the court hearing, among whom were Goenawan Mohamad, Fikri Jufri, and a number of foreign embassy officials.
From: KdP Net
Date: Thu, 2 Apr 1998 07:32:25 +0200 (MET DST)
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