Peaceful rally: Treason or Constitutional Right?

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Eggy Sudjana (middle). (photo: Prive. Doc)

IO, Jakarta – Political temperatures ahead of May 22, 2019, the day of the announcement of the winners of the 2019 Presidential Election tend to heat up. A number of actions were carried out mainly by people supporting Presidential Candidate number 02 to show their aspirations. The two significant actions were, among others, a peaceful action in front of the Office of the Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) Jakarta, Friday, May 10, 2019, and a meeting to uncover the facts of the 2019 presidential election fraud at Grand Sahid Jaya Hotel, Jakarta, Tuesday (14 / 5/2019), however, their sympathetic actions are not reaping positive responses from the authorities; on the contrary, they show a reactionary attitude. The statements expressed by the demonstrators aimed at uncovering various frauds committed mainly by the organizers of the 2019 Elections and the will to uphold truth and justice actually had a bad effect on them.

Some of the leaders who led these peaceful actions experienced very reactionary action that varied from bans to traveling abroad to reporting to the police, which might result in their being accused of treason.

One of the figures who suffered an unpleasant reaction for the sympathetic action he did was Eggi Sudjana. The Metro Jaya Regional Police Investigator has named Eggi Sudjana as a suspect in an alleged treason case. In fact, the police have sent an initial summons to members of the Prabowo-Sandiaga National Winning Body (BPN) for him to be questioned as a suspect on Monday (13/5). Eggi was reported by Jokowi-Ma’ruf Center volunteers on April 19, 2019 to the Criminal Investigation Department (Bareskrim). Eggi was reported on charges of incitement through videotapes related to calls for people power.

Another figure who received an unpleasant response from the police was retired Indonesian Military (TNI) officer Kivlan Zein. The former Chief of Staff of the Army Strategic Command (Kas Kostrad) Maj. Gen. Ret. Kivlan Zein was attended the demonstration demanding an investigation into allegations of 2019 Election fraud at the Indonesian Bawaslu Office, Jakarta, Thursday (05/09/2019). Kivlan Zein was stopped by the National Police when he was about to fly from Soekarno-Hatta Airport, Tangerang, on Friday (10/5) night. Kivlan was prevented from going abroad through the authority of a letter from the National Police (Bareskrim).

The letter of prevention for Kivlan Zein was issued by Bareskrim as Number B / 3248.Res.1.1.2 / V / 2019 / Bareskrim, dated 10 May 2019. The letter was submitted to Kivlan just as he was about to depart from Soekarno-Hatta Airport at Gate 22 Terminal 3. “Yes, he was prevented from going abroad. He intended to go to Brunei via Batam; the letter has (forwarded his letter) through immigration; it has been delivered,” said Head of the Public Information Division of the Indonesian National Police, Commissioner Asep Adi Saputra, on Friday night. Kivlan was reported by someone named Jalaludin. The report on the Kivlan was received by the police with report number LP / B / 0442 / V / 2019 / Bareskrim dated 7 May 2019.

Yet, strangely, a day later the Police canceled the Prevention Letter against Kivlan Zen. The letter of cancellation was contained in the National Police Bareskrim letter number B / 3248.2 RES.1.1.3 / V / 2019 / Bareskrim dated 11 May 2019.

“It is hereby notified to the Director General of Immigration that the letter requesting overseas preventive assistance number B / 3248 / RES.1.1.3 / V / 2019 / Bareskrim dated 10 May 2019 on behalf of the Indonesian Armed Forces (Ret.) Kivlan Zen, please cancel it.” The letter was signed by the Deputy Director of the National Police Bareskrim Criminal Act, Senior Commissioner Agus Nugroho.

Another interesting event to be discussed is the action of police who arrested and determined a male suspect with the initials HS under the “makar/treason” article the penalty for which is capital punishment. HS was threatened with treason article because he said he would cut off President Joko Widodo’s head in the middle of a demonstration in front of the Bawaslu Building on Friday (05/10/2019). His action was reported by volunteers supporting Joko Widodo, members of the Jokowi Mania organization. In addition to being charged with treason, HS, is also subject to the Electronic Information and Transaction Law (ITE), because the threat video was spread on social media and viral.

Due to the recent protests that led to the same thing, the desire for a sense of justice, honesty and truth, the authorities resorted to the rubber articles of the ITE Law which are widely used to suppress freedom of expression and silence critics. Even worse, the police apparatus began to like to apply Article 104 of the Criminal Code regarding treasonous crimes. The question is, are the rubber articles of the ITE Law and the Articles of Treason an appropriate response?

Article 104 of the Criminal Code reads: Treason with the intention to kill, or seize independence, or negate the ability of the President or Vice President to rule, be threatened with capital punishment or imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a maximum of twenty years.

To the Independent Observer, the General Chair of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI), Asfinawati asked the police to be careful in applying the term treason. YLBHI considers the use of the term ‘makar’ to be inappropriate because it is contrary to the substance of law. In a press conference at the YLBHI office, Tuesday (14/5) Asfin said “The use of treason articles by the police carelessly becomes at one point showing that the government (behaving) endangers democracy. He explained article 104 of the Criminal Code (KUHP) which was translated as a plot in Dutch written aanslag. He reminded that the word meant an attack meant to be aimed at the head of state. “This means that if there is no attack or attempted attack, then it cannot be termed ‘treason’” she explained.

In line with Asfinawati, Erasmus Napitupulu, Director of the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) Program, also requested the police to be more careful in applying the article of treason. Related to the determination of the suspect against HS, Erasmus said that article 104 of the Criminal Code could not be used to ensnare people who threatened to kill the President during a demonstrative atmosphere. The recommendation first must be clarified again, the term treason, especially in the Criminal Code, it is better to use the term aanslag or attack. Second, improving the practice of using treason both by law enforcement officials or judges’ decisions, treason must be tightened. Third, asking the police to be more careful in using articles of treason and for judges to be more stringent in adjudicating related cases, because the bad judgment of judges will worsen the public’s understanding and apprehension of treason.

Furthermore, Asfinawati regretted the use of treason articles which were deemed inappropriate. He caught a sign that as if every opponent of the government would be rewarded with Articles of Treason or articles of the ITE Law. In fact, according to her, those who are considered against the government only express criticism of the government.

YLBHI assesses that the use of treason articles actually contradicts democracy and legal substance. All citizens should be treated based on legal violations committed.

“If there are legal violations, then use the articles of violation of existing law. If it’s not there, then it’s irrelevant, but don’t use treasonous articles carelessly,” he said.

Related to the arrest of Eggi Sudjana, criminal law expert from the Indonesian Islamic University (UII) Yogyakarta reminded the police to be able to prove whether Eggi Sudjana’s actions and remarks were indeed worthy of being called treason, because the phrase “People Power” spoken by Eggi has many meanings and is part of the expression of the community who are not satisfied with the enforcement of the existing laws.

Mudzakir said cheating by a number of parties on the election results was tantamount to disrupting the people’s sovereignty. While, in fact, people’s sovereignty is the highest sovereignty in democracy.

 Mudzakir also questioned the police base setting Eggi Sudjana for alleged treason. In fact, according to him, the perpetrators of the treason are those who cheat on people’s sovereignty. “If the people’s sovereignty is given to B, but is taken by A, it’s the same as President A cheating on president B. If the will of the people is considered constitutional, where is it called unconstitutional if the existing rules are not adhered to” said Mudzakir. (ohw)