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Indonesian President Withdraws Appeal on Court Verdict on Internet Ban in Papua

June 21, 2020, 12.29 AM

JAKARTA, - President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo has withdrawn his appeal to a Jakarta state court decision that found the government guilty of imposing an internet blockade in the provinces of Papua and West Papua in August 2019.

The decision comes a day after the government filed an appeal against the court decision.

Withdrawing the motion

Special Presidential Staff for Legal Affairs Dini Purwono confirmed the president’s decision. “[President Jokowi] has filed for the appeal. But he withdrew the motion because the government already carried out the court’s verdict even before they made their decision,” she said.

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“So there is no issue to debate about. The government’s focus is currently on more pressing matters, such as the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Reaping criticism

Jokowi’s motion to appeal the court verdict has been criticized by some groups, including a legal team calling itself the Legal Team for Press Freedoms.

“We regret that the government has failed to learn to respect the court’s verdict, and the considerable deliberations that they put into it,” said Legal Team for Press Freedoms member Ade Wahyudin in a written statement obtained on Saturday, June 20.

“They also failed to learn from previous legal actions, such as lawsuits against the forest fires in Kalimantan or against the National Exams which the government lost.”

Ade added that the appeal also disregarded the Papuan and West Papuan people’s sense of justice. “The appeal shows that the government does not understand the court’s function and role,” he noted.

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“It also shows that they are unwilling to allow public participation in the legal process. However, we are ready to face the government in a higher court if needed.”

Earlier this month, Judge Nelvy Christin ruled that the government, specifically defendants President Jokowi and Communications and Information Minister Johnny G. Platte, violated the law by ordering an internet blackout in Papua and West Papua last August.

The judge ruled that the internet in itself is a neutral medium, and that any action against illegal content should be taken against the website itself. The blackout followed a wave of protests in both provinces against discrimination of Papuans. 

(Writer: Ihsanuddin/ Editors: Jessi Carina, Fabian Januarius Kuwado)


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