Trial of Gafatar Aceh: We, GAFATAR, Victims of Defamation and Public Opinion

ELSAM – Banda Aceh, June 3, 2015 Banda Aceh District Court opened session 11th of alleged blasphemy case conducted by Fajar Nusantara Movement (GAFATAR) with an agenda of defendants’ plea.

This time, hundreds of visitor were not fill the trial as the previous session. There were only a dozen people sitting on the bench. After the panel judges gave opportunity for Def. Tgk. Abdul Fatah, he immediately read his plea against defamation committed by people of Aceh to GAFATAR organization.

“All this time we experienced defamation and public opinion’s shaping. Arrest and detention violated our rights as citizens,” he said firmly at the front of the courtroom.
He also explained that GAFATAR is a social organization aims to build the country and devotes to Aceh, not an organization that brings interests of group, class, party, sect, religious teachings or mission.

“We should have been given an opportunity to explain our attitudes and actions in a dialogue forum, instead of arrested and condemned like this, because we actually built the country, wanted to devote to Aceh and wanted to benefit all parties,” he said.

LA of Defendants consisted of Muhammad Reza, S.H., Mustiqal Syahputra, S.H., and Febi Karina, S.H., also explained in their plea, that according to law, Art. 156.a of Criminal Code, before a criminal offender being brought to the court, there has to be a prior warning from Minister of Religious Affairs, General Attorney and Minister of Internal Affairs through Joint Ministerial Decree.

“In this case it had never been done, in fact it was mandated by PNPS No. 1/1965. Which means, the indictment in this case was premature,” said LAs who belonged to Banda Aceh Legal Aid.

In the Criminal Code, Art. 156.a included in Second Book Chapter V on Crime against Public Order. In the context of GAFATAR case, were GAFATAR’s organizational activities regarded as crimes? Or law violation? While in legal, GAFATAR had rules like another common organization, such as notarial deed for the establishment of GAFATAR, Memorandum & Article of Association. And in practice they ran social activities, like the other social organizations.

The hearing will be held again on Monday, June 15, 2015 with an agenda of verdict. The Panel Judges were expected to examine this case coherently and independently without being affected by pressures. Everyone is equal before the law and entitled to equal protection without any discrimination, including religion or belief, and organization.

Author: Yulfan, SH & Al Myzan
Editor: Adiani Viviana, SH