Trial of Gafatar Aceh: Banda Aceh Regional Police Must be Prepared and Firm to Secure Gafatar’s Trial

Tuesday, May 26, 2015 Banda Aceh District Court (DC) opened the 9th session of alleged blasphemy case by the Board of Fajar Nusantara Movement (GAFATAR). The trial with an agenda to examine expert submitted by the Legal Adviser (LA) of defendants went chaos. Hundreds of people occupied the court.

This case began on January 7, 2015, local residents in Lamgapang village, District Krueng Barona Jaya, Aceh Besar raided GAFATAR’s office. This raid carried out because people suspected GAFATAR spread Abraham Millata’s sect. In fact, GAFATAR is a national social organization without affiliation to any religion. Because the raid, local police secured GAFATAR members and board, and establish six board of GAFATAR as suspects for alleged criminal offense of blasphemy. They are chairman of Gafatar Aceh Regional Representative T. Abdul Fatah; Chairman of Gafatar Banda Aceh Althaf Mauloyul Muhammad Islam; Deputy Chairman of Gafatar Aceh Musliadi, Head of field information of Gafatar Aceh; Secretary of Gafatar Aceh Ayu Ariestana; and, Ridha Hidayat.

The prosecution of this case was full with pressure or intimidation against defendants, witnesses and experts, even LA of defendants. In each trial, masses of visitors always occupied Banda Aceh DC. Shouting and provocative remarks often accompanied the proceeding of the first until this 9th session. Even at the 9th session, when LA of defendants presented Theology expert Prof. DR. Yusni Sabi, MA to give testimony, some visitors attacked him. Fatally, there was no security action from the guards. This situation clearly reflected lack of respect for the authority of court trials.

A mass of about 100 to 200 people were composed of variety backgrounds, such as students. Unfortunately, many Civil Servants of Banda Aceh Government occupied the DC during their working hours.

Court institution is the last bastion for minorities who are involved in law case. However, according to the monitoring result of trial in religion and beliefs dimension which carried out by ELSAM and ELSAM’s network agencies, yet the Court has not been able to meet these expectations. Based on the ELSAM’s findings, in each case of religion or belief, masses have always occupied the courtroom and the court. The situation greatly affected judges’ duties in examining and prosecuting cases of religion and belief, as well as threatened security and safety of the judges. It also occurred in trials that attracts public attention.

To that end, in this case the Institute of Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM) as a representation of the people who carry out monitoring towards trial is firmly demanding to law enforcement:

1. Aceh Regional Police, Banda Aceh Regional Police, to swiftly and decisively provide security on the course of hearing alleged criminal act of blasphemy against Board of GAFATAR in Banda Aceh DC, by;
1. Setting up personnel proportionally to the amount of mass;
2. Alacrity in dealing with chaos that emerged in the hearing;
2. The judge panel who examine GAFATAR’s case to examine the case as a whole, without being affected by pressures that exist. The judge panel must also use human rights perspectives in examining this case ;
3. Supreme Court of Republic of Indonesia to establish a system/security in court for the judges, parties, and building facilities. Because in each case of religion and belief, masses have always occupied the courtroom and the court building. The situation greatly affects the duties of judges in examining and prosecuting cases of religion and belief, as well as threatens the security and safety of the judges. It also occurs in the court’s session that attracts public attention

Jakarta, May 29, 2015
Institute of Policy Research and Advocacy

For further information, please contact:
Adiani Viviana, SH., Program Officer on Freedom of Religion/Belief Issues 087873108307
Muhammad Al Myzaan, SH., Researcher 087808363322

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