Press Release
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The Government of Indonesia Failed to Ensure Fair Trial on the Case of  Attacking Minority Religion Group in Yogyakarta Province of Indonesia

The Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) – a human rights non-governmental organization based in Jakarta – strongly deplore the decision of the Judge of Sleman-Yogyakarta District Court on Thursday (October 16th 2014) which was sentenced the defendant of the assault case at the house of Julius Felicianus (director of Galang Press) – Abdul Kholiq – for only three months in jail minus the time of the arrest and detention of the defendant. We assess that the decision was incompatible because it does not give a sense of justice to the victims and did not make the perpetrators of violence and intolerance deterrent.

This light sentence reflects how the court (as a just institution) is not really serious in handling the cases of religious intolerance. The law punishment is given, seems to meet the legal process only. It is proved by the fact that until now, only one of the perpetrators who were processed legally, while other actors have not been arrested. In previous trial, Public Prosecutors demanded Abdul Kholiq with imprisonment for 4 months. Abdul Kholiq is subject to Article 170 Paragraph 2 Point 1 of the Criminal Code which emphasized the harm against the victims and causing public unrest. This light sentence is caused by the presence of a peace agreement between the defendant and the victim.

As reported, the attack was happened on Thursday evening, May 29th 2014 when the numbers of congregation were doing the Rosary’s Worship at the house of Julius Felicianus (Director Galang Press). The perpetrators consist by several dozen of people who suddenly come against the congregation – that generally women – with iron, sticks, flower pots and so on. Several people were reported injured, including Julius, a homeowner who was just came. Julius became victims of serious injuries due to blows of iron and flower pot against him. In addition, Mikael, a journalist at the time of the incident was trying to documenting the attack, became a victim of beatings and his camera was deprived by the perpetrators. 

We believe that the attack carried out by the intolerant group has violated the rights of freedom of assembly and freedom of association as stated in Article 28 UUD 1945 and violated the rights of freedom of religion, belief, and worship that has been constitutionally guaranteed in Article 28E (Paragraph 1 and 2), Article 29 (Paragraph (1 and 2) of the 1945 Constitution. The attack also has crippled the spirit of diversity and solidarity that should be owned by every citizen.

The attack toward the assembly and activity of religious minority groups is actually not the first time that happened in Indonesia. Let’s say what happened to the Ahmadiyya community, the Christian Church’s group, the group of other beliefs and so on are vulnerable to experience violence from the intolerant groups. Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association on May 13, 2014, expressly states that Indonesia still has a poor record of human rights the world related to the rights of peaceful assembly, including for the religious worship activities.

We need your support and help us in encourage the Government of Indonesia to handle the case of intolerance in much more serious way because it is stated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) that Indonesia has acceded.

We believe that the effort of Government of Indonesia in protecting, respecting, and fulfilling human rights of all citizen have to include the legal enforcement as one of the primary agenda as well as the fair legal process toward all kind of human rights violation cases including the violation of freedom of religion, belief, and worship. 

We would like to call and urge our Government to abide international obligations and assure the restoration of a democratic government based on human rights as what Indonesia has stated in its position as the ASEAN countries which both on the TOR and on the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) mentioned that ASEAN member states should always uphold the principles of impartiality, objectivity, non-selectivity, non-discrimination, non-confrontation and avoidance of double standards and politicization in the realization of the human rights and freedoms contained in the declaration.


Jakarta, October 22, 2014


Haris Azhar
Executive Coordinator of KontraS