ELSAM, Lumajang – Tarik alias P. Joyo bin Ilik (65 years), a farmer from Sidorejo hamlet, Pandansari village, Sumber district, Probolinggo regency, is a victim of Law No. 18 of 2013 on the Prevention and Elimination of Forest Destruction (P3H Law). Joyo was arrested on 28 July 2015 in his hut, located in the plot of Blok Pasang, in the forest area in Lumajang regency, East Java. Joyo was arrested by the Lumajang resort police, and is being detained in the Kedungjajang sector police office.
Members of the Public Interest Lawyer Network (PIL-Net), Ronald Siahaan, Abdul Wahid and Syahrul Fitra on Friday (14/08/2015) visited Kedungjajang sector police office to meet Joyo, and ask him the background of the event. They would provide legal aid to Joyo’s case.
Based on information from PIL-Net, Joyo was detained by the Lumajang resort police, as he was suspected of the crime of doing agricultural work without permission from the Minister and ordered, organised or mobilised the utilisation of forest areas in an illegal manner as meant in Article 92 (1) letter a jo. Article 17 (2) letter b of P3H Law, subsidiary to Article 94 (1) letter a jo. Article 19 letter a of P3H Law.
In 2015, Joyo was involved in a community group requesting rights to utilise the land in the forest area through the government program called Inventarisation of Control, Ownership, Use and Utilisation of Land (IP4T) in forest areas, as established in Joint Regulation of the Minister of Interior, Minister of Forestry, Minister of Public Works and Head of National Land Board No. 79 of 2014, No. PB.3/Menhut-11/2014, No. 17/PRT/M/2014, No. 8/SKB/X/2014 on the Procedures of Land Resolution in Forest Areas. However, during the process, Joyo was criminalised.
On Tuesday, 28 July 2015, at 10 a.m. Sumi, Joyo’s wife saw about 30 persons consisting of Forestry Company, Forestry Police, Police and LMDH members coming to Joyo’s plot, and arrested him after feeding his goats.
Sumi saw Joyo was stripped and his left face was bruised and bleeding. Joyo was taken by motorbike by the Forestry Company official named Tawar, and escorted by Forestry Police.
According to Joyo’s statement to Sumi, his money in his waistbag, to the amount of three millions, was taken by the persons arresting him. He was also beaten and forced to confess that the money was illegally obtained from plotting the forest lands. The money was in fact earned from Joyo’s sale of his crops.
The arrest of the Probolinggo farmer, using P3H Law, is another evidence that the law is a serious threat for people living in and around forest areas. Previously, in March 2015, an old woman named Asyani (63 years) was tried, after being accused of stealing Forestry Company’s wooden boards in Kristal hamlet, Jatibanteng village, Situbondo, East Java. She was found guilty of violating Article 12 letter d of P3H Law, and sentenced to one year in prison and a fine of 500 million rupiahs or one day of detention, with a probation of 15 months, by the Probolinggo State Court.
It is evident that P3H Law has threatened and jailed local communities dependent on forest resources. Thus, the coalition of civil society organisations in the Anti-Forestry Mafia Coalition requested a judicial review of the law to the Constitutional Court, and requested the Court to revoke the law in its entirety. As long as the Law remains in effect, criminalisation to communities around forests will continue to occur.
Writer: Abdul Wahid
Editor: Ari Yurino