Thursday, January 5, 2012

Hidayat in Prison in Makassar after Demonstration

Makassar Police Headquarters have finally charged our comrade Hidayat, who is accused of damaging Police outposts during a demonstration supporting the people of Bima. According to the police, Hidayat's status has been changed to 'accused' because they have sufficiently strong evidence to justify this higher level. They also claim to have video and photo evidence.

Hidayat participated in a solidarity action that took place in Makassar on 26th December 2011 against the brutal police clearance of the anti-mining protest in Bima, where thousands of people had occupied Sape port. From what we have managed to find out, he was arrested secretively in the crowds between Jalan Gunung Bawakaraeng and Karebosi Link.

There is a stong suspicion that Hidayat was taken at that moment, because in the videos released on various electronic mass media sites, he is last seen after the incident where the police outpost on Jalan Gunung was attacked, next to the ATM vehicle that was bombarded with stones. Nobody saw him being arrested, we only received news of his arrest at around 6.00pm via SMS.

Hidayat is currently being held in the Makassar Police Headquarters. Access to legal support and communication with the outside world is extremely limited. This means that it has not been possible for the media to release a detailed chronology of what happened according to Hidayat himself.

The director of LBH (an NGO specialising in legal support) Abdul Azis, has also commented on this situation. Abdul Azis, himself a former media activist in Hasanuddin University, the police have gone too far by charging Hidayat. After all, the action itself was a response to police violence in Bima. “Don't let the actions responding to what happened there result in decisions lacking in objectivity, such as this rushed accusation,” he said.

The police have charged Hidayat under article 170 of the Indonesian Criminal Code, which is about criminal damage in conjunction with other people. They say that the case will be taken to court soon.

News Update about Hidayat
Our comrade Hidayat alias Yayat is still being imprisoned in the cells of the Makassar Police headquarters on Jalan Ahmad Yani 11. He has been given the status of 'accused'. The accusation against him is that he acted as a provocator in the destruction of property belonging to the BNI bank (a mobile cash machine) and a police outpost located on Jalan Sudirman, Makassar. This took place in the context of a solidarity action and protest about police brutality to the people of Bima who had been occupying Sape port. The police are charging him with article 170 of the criminal code, which refers to acts of criminal damage carried out together with others.

As a result of pressure and without the presence of legal advice, Yayat admitted the accusation the first time he was interrogated, but denied the accusation of provocation. As we all know, during the interrogation process people are always terrorised both physically and mentally. The process of signing a statement is also always carried out under duress.

Hidayat's legal support is currently being handled by Lembaga Bantuan Hukum (LBH) Makassar. The lawyers have presented a request for his detention to be suspended but the police have refused to grant it. After this refusal, on December 30th, friends and family members decided to approach the head of the Makassar Police's Detective and Criminal unit (Kanit Reskrim). One result of this communication has been that the police have repeated their examination, this time focussed their questions for Hidayat's statement more on his involvement in the action. Because of this, the accusation of provocation has been withdrawn.

Initial attempts at lobbying the police to get the case stopped have proved difficult. This is because the pressure on the police was weak, and the case has become headline news in the public eye. Also, as has happened in several similar cases in Makassar, the police want to look for someone to pin the blame on in any action that involves damage, and so arbitrarily arrest anyone they can in the area.

LBH and the legal team have opted for the remaining option, which is trying to ensure the process proceeds as fast as possible while also trying to find other avenues for advocacy not based on litigation. Following on from that, the team have been looking for defence witnesses for Yayat. We have already contacted three friends who are prepared to be witnesses and their interviews have been scheduled for January 4th.

On 4th January we received the bad news that Hidayat's health has been deteriorating. Symptoms of typhus, a disease he suffered from previously, have been returning. We have requested a deferment of detention so that Hidayat can receive treatment outside the prison.

We ask for solidarity and support from all those in struggle and fighting their own battles against the state and capital. Pass on this information, discuss it and let the fires of your solidarity burn. We should show everyone that not one friend will be left behind.

Burn all prisons to the ground!!
Freedom for Hidayat and other imprisoned social combatants!!!
Long live solidarity and direct action!!!

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