Indonesia’s defamation law challenged

alerts-button-1.jpgAn Indonesia political activist who was arrested for defaming President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is asking the country’s Constitutional Court to review the article on defamation in the Criminal Code.

Pandapotan Lubis filed the request on 25 September 2006, reports local web-based daily “Tempo Interaktif”.

He is being tried at the Central Jakarta District Court for allegedly defaming the president at a rally at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in May.

“Tempo Interaktif” quoted his lawyer, Irma Hattu, as saying, “We are requesting for the article on defaming the president to be revoked because it has the potential of being used by the authorities for their own purposes.”

Irma referred specifically to articles 134, 136 and 137, which criminalise defaming the president or vice-president. “We view these articles as contrary to the Constitution which guarantees freedom of assembly, association and opinion,” he said.

Irma claimed that his client had merely displayed a poster of Susilo and the vice-president, imprinted with the words, “Step down”.

The Constitutional Court is also reviewing the same articles as requested by a lawyer, Eggy Sudjana. Eggy was charged with defaming the president in a report to the Corruption Eradication Commission about an entrepreneur who had allegedly handed out Jaguar cars to people close to the president.

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