February 28, 2013

IV. State Failure to Protect Religious Minorities from Violence

They dragged me out of the water. They held my hands and cut my belt with a machete. They cut my shirt, pants and undershirt, leaving me in my underwear. They took 2.5 million rupiah (US$270) and my Blackberry. They tried to take off my underwear and cut my penis. I was laying in the fetal position. I tried to protect my face but my left eye was stabbed. Then I heard them say, “He is dead, he is dead.”
Ahmad Masihuddin, 25, injured in mob attack on Ahmadiyah gathering in Cikeusik, western Java, on February 6, 2011, after police present at the scene fail to intervene.[244]

The Indonesian government at the national and local levels repeatedly has failed to protect either through law enforcement, deterrent measures, or prosecutions minority religious communities under threat or attack from militant Islamist groups. Militant groups have either been directly involved in attacks on minority houses of worship or have incited mobs of local residents or groups of thugs to commit such violence. At times with the assistance of heads of local administrative units such as Rukun Tetangga (Neighborhood Associations) and Rukun Warga (Citizen Associations), Islamist leaders have organized protests designed to intimidate or threaten prayer meetings and other religious gatherings. [245]

There are both political and bureaucratic reasons for the Indonesian government’s failure to fulfill its legal obligations to protect Indonesia’s minority religions from threat or attack from militant Islamist groups.

The unwillingness of Indonesian authorities to forcefully intervene to prevent violence against religious minorities or prosecute those responsible can make the government responsible for continuing abuses. The UN Human Rights Committee states in its General Comment 31 on the legal obligations of states that a “fail[ure] to take appropriate measures or to exercise due diligence to prevent, punish, investigate or redress the harm caused … by private persons or entities” in which Covenant rights are infringed upon, may give rise to violations by the state.[246] In addition, when rights are violated, the state “must ensure that those responsible are brought to justice. As with failure to investigate, failure to bring to justice perpetrators of such violations could in and of itself give rise to a separate breach of the Covenant.”[247]

In some areas of Indonesia, the intimidation and threats against religious communities by Islamist groups have persisted over time, with little effort from government officials to curtail the violations. Of particular note is the continued coddling of the Islamic Defenders Front (Front Pembela Islam, FPI), which has engaged repeatedly in acts of violent vigilantism. As the International Crisis Group noted: “[N]ot only have the governor of Jakarta, the … national police [chief] and the religious affairs minister all appeared at FPI events, but the … police chief appeared to welcome FPI as a partner in maintaining law and order in Jakarta. Taking on allies known for their intolerance is not the way to inculcate religious harmony.”[248]

Members of Christian and other minority religions interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that they felt under constant pressure from militant groups, the Indonesian Ulama Council, the Ministry of Religious Affairs, certain police officers, and local government officials. They said this pressure drove some members of minority religions to stop worshipping or abandon their houses of worship.

When religious minorities seek to have their rights enforced, local authorities and the police may instead try to compel all sides to reach an “amicable solution.” The National Police in Jakarta told Human Rights Watch, “We invite all religious figures to make a deal.” [249] Yet such arrangements frequently mean that religious minorities are pressured to forsake rights due to them. For instance, to satisfy security concerns raised by government officials or the police, religious minorities will be asked to move from their respective areas.

Human Rights Watch documented 10 cases where police failed to investigate complaints of violence against religious minorities. On the few occasions where authorities have made arrests, it has been mostly because of intense media coverage. In nine cases documented by Human Rights Watch, including the attack and burning of HKBP Ciketing church in Bekasi and the arson attacks against four churches in Kuantan Singingi, Riau, the police investigations were woefully inadequate. While some arrests were made, other suspects were not properly investigated.

Among the cases investigated by Human Rights Watch, in only one did local authorities respond appropriately to violence against a religious minority. After Islamist militants burned three churches and a Christian school in Temanggung in February 2011, the local government immediately distanced themselves from the assailants. Central Java police dispatched hundreds of officers to restore order and arrest the perpetrators.[250]

Police Siding with Islamist Militants

Police at times have sided with Islamist militants at the expense of the rights of religious minorities ostensibly to avoid violence. After an act of incitement or physical attack by Islamists, instead of investigating and prosecuting those responsible, police have sometimes tried to convince the religious minority targeted by the attack to leave the area or close their houses of worship in the interests of public order. For instance, an Ahmadiyah imam in Sukadana, Campaka district, Cianjur, told Human Rights Watch that the police urged him to leave Sukadana because his presence would upset Muslims and might lead to violence.[251]

The reasons for police failure to protect religious minorities from physical attack vary from case to case. In some instances, police actively collude with the attackers for religious, economic, or political reasons; in other instances, they lack clear instructions from above or feel outnumbered by militants. In all cases, the poor police response reflects institutional failure to uphold the law and hold perpetrators of violent crimes to account. Some police officers were even involved in openly petitioning the ban of the Shia faith in Madura Island, an obvious break of the Indonesian police regulation, but they were never questioned.

In June 2011, police entered an Ahmadiyah mosque in Sukadana with members of the militant group Islam Reform Movement (Gerakan Reformis Islam, Garis). A video shows Adjunct Police Commissioner Rusnaedi, the Campaka police chief, arriving at the mosque with Garis militants, erecting two large signs stating that Ahmadiyah activities are prohibited.

Mukhtar Assegaf, who runs a Shia school in Bangil that was the scene of a violent attack in February 2011, said that he had reported earlier attacks to the police:

We keep on reporting the stone throwing, the harassment, breaking our windows and even bringing spears, sickles, and bats into our compound, but the police keep on talking about building communication with these thugs.[252]

In Sukadana, Lampung, police sided with Islamist militants against two Baha’i followers. Following pressure from Muslim community members who had signed a letter calling for the Baha’i to convert to Islam or be removed from the village, the East Lampung deputy police chief, Dwi Sulistyawan, and the two Baha’i members, Syahroni and Iwan Purwanto, agreed to have a “musyawarah” or “consensus” at the East Lampung police station on June 2, 2010. The Baha’i leaders signed a statement prepared by the police agreeing to stop all Baha’i “economic and religious activities.” Police officers as well as officials of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Indonesian Ulama Council witnessed the signing of the statement. [253]

In Sampang, Madura, in February 2006, four police officers at the Omben district signed an open statement, asking Madura ulamas to issue a joint fatwa to ban Shiaism.[254] The police officers obviously side with the Sunni majority when the Shia minority complained about the harassment. Later the Sampang police precinct, which supervises the Omben unit, also took part in pressuring Shia clerics to leave their village.[255]

Police and local authorities have also used the threat of violent attacks by militant groups to stop religious minority groups from carrying out public prayers and religious activities. At HKBP Ciketing, the police prevented the congregation from accessing church land following the September 4, 2010 stabbing attack on members of the congregation. Church elder, Asia Lumbantoruan said, “The government forced us to move because they said we have to prevent a bloodbath. They said, ‘We won’t be responsible for what happens if you continue to have prayers here.’”[256]

The Bekasi police investigated the stabbing of Asia Lumbantoruan and charged 13 attackers. FPI chairman Murhali Barda, who used his Facebook account to mobilize Muslims to harass the HKBP Ciketing congregation, and Adji Achmad Faisal, who was found to have stabbed Lumbantoruan, were convicted by the Bekasi district court, sentencing them to three to seven-and-a-half months in prison.

Police Failure to Prevent Violence Despite Warning Signs

In cases documented by Human Rights Watch, local governments and police in Bekasi, Bogor, Cianjur, Kuantan Singingi, Kupang, Sampang, and Sukadana, failed to adequately protect religious minorities who faced persecution or harassment. As noted above, four HKBP congregations in Bekasi have faced frequent intimidation: HKBP Filadelfia in Jejalen Jaya village; HKBP Getsemane in Jati Mulya area; HKBP Pondok Timur Indah in Ciketingarea (better known as HKBP Ciketing); and HKBP Kaliabang in the Kaliabang area, North Bekasi. These four congregations have not been able to use their church buildings because police have failed to protect them from Islamist militant groups.

Asia Lumbantoruan of HKBP Ciketing in Bekasi told Human Rights Watch that on August 1, 2010, FPI members tried to interrupt their Sunday service. The FPI had been using Facebook to mobilize Sunni Muslims in the vicinity to close down the church since early 2010. Lumbantoruan said that on August 1, around 1,000 Islamists and 600 police arrived. The police tried to hold the militants back from the church but failed to prevent them from attacking the church, resulting in more than 30 injuries. Lumbantoruan told Human Rights Watch:

There was pushing and many of us fell. When we fell, they [the Islamists] ran forward and trampled and beat us, including the two reverends. When one reverend was being beaten, the police were just looking. We gave the police the names of those responsible. The police did nothing.[257]

Lumbantoruan also described how young men on motorbikes stabbed him and attacked a female minister on September 4, 2010. Police again stood by as the violence unfolded, only to intervene after the attack had begun, failing to prevent an escalation or make any immediate arrests of perpetrators. Lumbantoruan said:

A motorcyclist came down the road and tried to hit me. When I looked down I saw that I was bleeding. The police were 100 meters away. The attackers also had friends nearby. They attacked and beat the Reverend Luspida Simanjuntak until she was on the ground. The police put me and the reverend on a police motorcycle. The thugs pulled her off the motorcycle and hit her three times with a wooden stick. The police sped off with us on the back, leaving the congregation behind.[258]

The harassment and attacks, combined with the congregants’ knowledge that the police would do little to protect them, has made some individuals are too frightened to participate in religious events. Lumbantoruan said:

Our congregation used to be 500 people, but as the pressure and harassment got too much, people stopped going to church and started to pray elsewhere. The numbers reduced significantly because the government has kept on telling us to leave and put us in different buildings and kept on having us change our location.[259]

Police commissioner Herry Wibowo, a former Bekasi police chief and now an officer at the internal branch of the National Police, told Human Rights Watch that police have sometimes failed to protect religious minorities in Bekasi but claimed that ensuring their protection is difficult because there are more than 300 Christian churches in the region:

The police provide protection to all these churches every Sunday. In Tambun district, we provided protection to the HKBP Filadelfia for one year. Next door to the church is a madrasah. If there is a Sunday mass, the noise provokes people [in the madrasah] who cannot tolerate the sound.[260]

In 2010, HKBP Filadelfia began to hold Sunday services on the street and faced weekly harassment. On January 26, 2012, an Islamist group led by Haji Naimun began to use four large loudspeakers, blaring Arabic-language Islamic music into the HKBP Filadelfia service only meters away. Rev. Palti Panjaitan said the congregation could barely hear their own hymns. According to Panjaitan:

They were shouting and yelling, “Close the church! Go away! There must not be a church here!” or “Batak Pigs!” Their numbers continued to increase each week. On a Saturday night, they dumped dead chicken, cow dung and rotten eggs. We told the police and they said they knew who the perpetrators were. They did nothing.[261]

The most brutal attack was on an Ahmadiyah group in Cikeusik, Banten province, western Java. On February 6, 2011, 1,500 Islamist militants attacked 21 members of the Ahmadiyah community outside a house in Umbulan hamlet. Three Ahmadiyah men were killed and five were injured.

The attack was captured on video by an Ahmadiyah wedding videographer, Arif Rachman, which was later posted on the website YouTube.[262] The 28-minute video and Human Rights Watch interviews with survivors shows that local police were present at the scene prior to the attack, but many of them left soon after the crowd descended on the Ahmadiyah, leaving the group vulnerable. The mob attacked the Ahmadiyah men with stones, sticks and machetes while they chanted and shouted anti-Ahmadiyah slogans.

A 25-year-old Ahmadiyah man told Human Rights Watch:

After breakfast a police officer came to our house and told us there was going to be a demonstration. Our expectation was 100 to 200 people. When the police came out of the house the mob already reached a nearby bridge. It was 10 a.m.. I thought the police would stop them, but the mob entered the house and the police did nothing. The group shouted, “You are infidels! You are heretics!” We decided to defend ourselves. But we were outnumbered.[263]

Another Ahmadiyah man, Ahmad Muhamad, described to Human Rights Watch how he saw police equipped with riot control shields, sticks, and teargas leave the scene as the mob approached the house. Others reported the presence of a handful of officers who were present during the most brutal moments of the attack. Some of these police officers remained at the scene, but their meager number and their actions were inadequate to contain the attackers.

The video shows that the handful of police who witnessed the attack did little to stem the violence. They were just meters away during the killing of two of the men. One officer, Cikeusik police chief Madsupur, held up his hands to stop the crowd as they approached the Ahmadiyah house.[264]

However, two officers did intervene to protect five of the Ahmadiyah after three others had been bludgeoned to death. Muhammad Ahmad was beaten with bamboo sticks on his face, badly fracturing his jaw:

The mob used their hands, sticks and machetes to bash my jaw. They hit my left leg with a machete and the back of my head with a machete. Some wore turbans on their heads and others were in white clothes and other FPI accessories. They told me to recite the shahadah [Muslim prayer].[265]I did and when I did, they said, “Don’t attack! He is a Muslim!”

He described how individual officers arrived at the scene and ferried him away:

Suddenly a man used his body to protect me. By then the police had arrived. They threw me inside a police car and the driver drove away so fast. I think he [the driver] was saving himself from the mob, not me.[266]

After the attack, some police were less than sympathetic to the victims. An Ahmadiyah woman told Human Rights Watch, “We were later evacuated to the Pandeglang police station and stayed there for three days. A Brimob [Mobile Brigade] officer told us, “You village idiots! You changed religion only for Sarimie [material gain]!”[267]

The week following the attack, the National Police summoned Banten province police chief Brig. Gen. Agus Kusnadi and Pandeglang regency police chief Commissioner Alex Fauzi Rasad for questioning in Jakarta. The National Police conducted an internal investigation into the Cikeusik violence. At this writing, almost two years since the attack, the police have not announced the results of their investigation. Only three low-ranking officers were scheduled to be tried in Pandeglang on charges of being negligent in their duties. They allegedly just watched the brutal attack, smoking.[268]

During the Temanggung riots in Central Java in February 2011, police responded quickly to anti-defendant violence that erupted following the sentencing of a controversial religious preacher and former Catholic, Antonius Richmond Bawengan, who was convicted of blasphemy against Islam. Police managed to evacuate judges and prosecutors from court, where a mob of hundreds of people had gathered chanting, “Kill! Kill!” Islamist militants who had been in the courtroom began burning tires outside the court house and then started targeting Christian sites.

Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that militants vandalized four churches, one Christian school, and burned several motorcycles and cars. They entered the Santo Petrus Paulus Catholic church, smashing stained glass windows, and destroying equipment and religious statues. [269]

The Central Java police immediately deployed hundreds of anti-riot officers to Temanggung. Maj. Gen. Edward Aritonang, the Central Java police chief, ordered his men to investigate the ringleaders who used text messages to mobilize the gathering at the Temanggung district court.[270] On February 13, 2011, police arrested Syihabuddin, a Muslim teacher at the al-Hadist school in Temanggung for allegedly mobilizing Muslims to go to the courthouse. Police also arrested 24 other rioters.

On June 14, 2011, the Semarang district court convicted Syihabuddin of incitement, sentencing him to one year of imprisonment. Sixteen other rioters were sentenced to between 5 to 10 months’ imprisonment.[271]

National Police officials in Jakarta told Human Rights Watch they uphold religious freedom, including the right to worship, saying that it is the constitutional right of all Indonesian citizens. Police referred to cases they had investigated such as a stabbing in Bekasi, providing security to help guard churches on Sundays, and working quickly to anticipate violence at an Ahmadiyah mosque there. But they also asserted that they get no support from politicians, who prefer to cater to voters. Brig. Gen. RM Panggabean, the deputy of the legal division at the National Police, told Human Rights Watch:

In Cikeusik we underestimated the problem. There were so many attackers. We were outnumbered. We have to learn from these mistakes. We have taken disciplinary action. Those officers were demoted and transferred.[272]

Blaming Religious Minorities

In a number of cases investigated by Human Rights Watch, police threatened or charged members of religious minorities with blasphemy or incitement, claiming their peaceful worship or public expression of their beliefs was responsible for mob violence. In other cases, police failed to intervene or pressured the minority community to stop their religious practices to avoid violence. In Cikeusik, First Inspector Hasanuddin, the Cikeusik police intelligence chief, testified in the Serang district court that it was the refusal of the Ahmadiyah men to leave the house where they had gathered that provoked the deadly attack on them.[273] Police were quick to file charges against Deden Sujana, the Ahmadiyah security advisor, claiming that he disobeyed police orders by refusing to leave the house and for assaulting a militant who was threatening the Ahmadiyah with a machete.

In the June 2010 Lampung case where a mob stoned Baha’i houses, the lawyer for the two Baha’i men stated, “The Baha’i members reported the intimidation to the police but got no response.” Instead, the East Lampung police detained the two Baha’i men for questioning relating to their alleged effort to convert Muslim children to Baha’ism.[274]

In the case of alleged atheist Alexander “Aan” An, on January 18, 2012, more than a dozen men came to his office and accused him of blasphemy. Some of the men beat Aan, prompting a police patrol to stop and bring Aan to the Dharmasraya police station. Aan was later charged with blasphemy, while no action was taken against the men who beat him up. Aan, who grew up as a Muslim, told Human Rights Watch:

Facebook automatically makes our account a public one. Everyone can read the posting on my Facebook wall. I never want to discredit Islam. Of course I talk mostly about Islam because I know Islam more than other religions.[275]

Perhaps the most emblematic recent case of police blaming religious minorities is that of Shia cleric Tajul Muluk, who was convicted of blasphemy. For years, the Shia community in Nangkernang village, Omben district, Sampang regency, has faced problems from government and religious authorities. In February 2006, 40 Sunni clerics and four police officers signed a public statement declaring that Shia Islam is heretical. The statement mentions two meetings that they had organized with Shia clerics in which the Shia were told to return to Sunni Islam but refused to do so. The statement calls on law enforcement agencies to enforce the blasphemy law against Tajul Muluk. “We’re calling all four MUIs in Madura to issue a joint fatwa about the danger of the Shia teaching that doubts the originality of the Holy Quran, the justice of the companions of the Prophet, and excessive reverence to Ahlul Bait,” the statement says. They named their group the Ulama Consensus Forum (Forum Musyawarah Ulama, FMU). The first FMU signatory was Ali Karrar, the senior cleric in Proppo, near Omben. [276] The statement was the first step in an ongoing campaign against Shia in Sampang. In 2009, Tajul Muluk had a disagreement with his younger brother Roisul Hukama, which led Roisul to join the anti-Shia campaign in Madura. In July 2011, police and Sampang officials persuaded Tajul Muluk to flee his village, Nangkernang, and provided him with financial assistance to leave. He slept in the Sampang police station for a week from July 23 till August 7, 2011.

Throughout 2011, Islamist militants stepped up the campaign of harassment and intimidation against Shia in the Nangkernang hamlet. For instance, on December 6, 2011, when celebrating Ashura, a day of spiritual significance for Shia, Sunni militants tried to prevent some 60 Shia residents from leaving their hamlet by blocking the road. Sunni villagers brandishing sickles threatened to kill them and asked them to leave the village. Shia leader Iklil al Milal says he asked the police to take action to end the threats, but the police did not act.[277]

On December 29, 2011, Sunni militants attacked the Nangkernang hamlet, burning houses and the madrasa, causing around 500 Shia residents to flee.[278] Police arrested and charged only one of the militants for the arson attack, and instead focused their efforts on pressuring Shia clerics, including Tajul Muluk and Iklil al Milal, to leave Nangkernang. The Ministry of Religious Affairs in Sampang also said it would “supervise” hundreds of Shia to ensure they learn Sunni Islam, based on the ministry’s assumption that the solution to religious harmony is for Shia conversion to Sunnism.[279]

It was Tajul Muluk who ended up in jail, charged with blasphemy and “unpleasant acts.” The tactic of blaming and putting responsibility on members of religious minorities, who are targeted by militants, is commonly used by Islamist groups and their supporters. On July 12, 2012, the East Java court sentenced Tajul Muluk to four years imprisonment for blasphemy.

The Shia community in Sampang Regency, East Java pleaded for police protection during the Ramadan fasting month in August 2012, warning that Shia communities in the area might be attacked by Sunni militants at the end of Ramadan on August 20, 2012. The police ignored their warnings. On August 26, 2012 hundreds of Sunni militants associated with the Ulama Consensus Forum attacked Shia homes in the Sampang village of Nangkernang. Those militants burned down around 50 Shia houses, killing one man and seriously injuring another.[280] Several police officers on the scene stood by during the attack, refusing to intervene.[281] Sampang Regent Noor Tjahja has responded to criticism about his inability or unwillingness to protect Shia’s in his district by stating “I don’t care [about] human rights as long I protect those who voted for me as their leader.”[282]

Failure to Investigate Violence

The Indonesian police have failed to conduct adequate investigations into attacks by Islamist groups against religious minorities. Even when provided evidence such as eyewitness accounts and video or photographic evidence, police routinely fail to arrest those implicated. For instance, in Jejalen Jaya, Bekasi regency, Islamist groups used racist and sectarian remarks to mobilize people to stop the HKBP Filadelfia church from holding its Sunday service. On April 15, 2012, an identified Muslim man threatened to slit the church pastor’s throat. A video shows some police officers present but no action was taken against the man.[283]

Courtroom testimony in the Cikeusik case revealed collaboration between local authorities and the Islamists. Witnesses at the trial, including defendant cleric Ujang M. Arif, said that Umbulan village head Mohammad Johar and local Indonesian Ulama Council secretary Ahmad Baghawi had agreed to set February 6 as the date to forcibly remove the Ahmadiyah from Cikeusik. Baghawi himself testified that he had taken part in a meeting to determine the date to expel the Ahmadiyah from Cikeusik. But police did not file a case against either Johar or Baghawi.[284]

Police investigations of the attack were woefully inadequate. While police interviewed the cameraman who filmed the attack and two of the five Ahmadiyah who were seriously injured, they failed to question other Ahmadiyah who were injured or present during the attack or to ask them to testify.

Ahmad Muhamad, a witness to the attacks, said he was not given an opportunity to testify at the trial:

I might not recognize them one by one, but I could describe the situation. We were just trying to defend our property. Hundreds of Ahmadiyah properties have been destroyed [in West Java] and the government has done almost nothing.[285]

Church elder Asia Lumbantoruan said that after the HKBP Ciketing mob attack, the only official correspondence the church received was a letter from the Ministry of Religious Affairs office in Bekasi instructing the church not to hold services in Ciketing.

Arson Attacks in Sumatra

On the island of Sumatra, unidentified assailants burned down four predominantly Batak churches in Kuantan Singingi regency, Riau, in April and August 2011. So far, no one has been held to account for the burning of the four churches.

On April 11, 2011 at around 2 p.m., five or six men entered the Santo Antonius church in Taluk Kuantan town. They destroyed the gate, sprayed gasoline inside the church, burned the building, and destroyed furniture and equipment. A witness told Human Rights Watch, “It burned for about one hour. The fire brigade didn’t come until it was too late.” [286]

The local regent, Sukarmis, visited the church the next day, assigning a police company to help clean up the debris. Just four days before, Sukarmis had won a local election against an Islamist candidate partly because of the support of Christian voters from rural areas in Kuantan Singingi. [287] Police arrested 21 young men for the April 11 arson attack but none were ever charged. [288]

The failure of the authorities to immediately take action against those responsible for the attack may have encouraged further violence against churches in the area. On July 31, 2011, the Batak Karo Protestant Church (Gereja Batak Karo Protestan, GBKP) in Logas, Tanah Darat district, about an hour’s drive from Taluk Kuantan, was attacked by a mob.

The church is located inside a remote palm oil plantation with around 50 Batak families living in the community. Church elder Salmon Ketaren stated, “It was almost midnight. Suddenly the mob arrived. Stones were thrown against the roof. I went out and saw motorcycles outside.” One motorcyclist took out a machete and threatened to kill Ketaren. He ran away. The mob burned down the wooden church. [289]

Less than 24 hours later, a mob burned down the Pentecostal Church in Indonesia (Gereja Pentakosta di Indonesia, GPDI) in Pangean district, about three kilometers away from the GBKP church, according to Lasni Simanjuntak, who lives next door. She said, “A Honda motorcyclist hit the front door. They turned benches and partitions upside down. I heard people shouting, ‘Allahu Akbar’ [God is great].” She immediately told her husband and children to flee. From their hiding place, they saw their home get burned to the ground.[290]

The next night, on August 2, a mob attacked the Methodist Church in Indonesia (Gereja Methodist Indonesia, GMI) in Pangean district, around 200 meters from the burned Pentecostal church. Farmer Dimer Siregar, who witnessed the attack, said, “They collected benches inside the church and burned them.”[291]

Police questioned church officials at the police station. John Saprianto Purba of the Methodist church said he saw the police arrest and then release one teenager with his Vixen Yamaha motorbike. Purba said he asked the police why the youth was released, and according to him, the officer replied:

We want to uphold the law. We’re doing it. We arrested and questioned him. But if we’re to keep him here, this police precinct will be burned to the ground.[292]

Judicial System Failures

Indonesia’s criminal justice system has proven ineffectual in prosecuting cases of violence against religious minorities. Cases rarely reach the courts and, when they do, prosecutors and judges have appeared prejudiced against individuals and groups from religious minorities, while showing unjustifiable leniency towards Islamist militants implicated in serious criminal offenses.

In the Cikeusik attack, which claimed the lives of three Ahmadiyah men, prosecutors did not charge any of the defendants with murder or manslaughter, but only with lesser crimes including assault causing death, inciting public disorder, and maltreatment (less serious than assault), participating in assault, and illegal possession of sharp weapons. Although assault resulting in death carries a maximum penalty of 12 years’ imprisonment, at trial prosecutors recommended sentences of only seven months or less, saying that the sentences should be reduced since the Ahmadiyah members partly provoked the attack and filmed and distributed videos of the attack. In the end, 12 perpetrators were convicted and received sentences ranging from three to six months in prison.

Deden Sujana, the Ahmadiyah man later charged with provoking the attack, was the only Ahmadiyah member asked to testify. He was berated by a judge about his faith and his motivations in going to Cikeusik that day, a scene videotaped and available on YouTube.[293] Responding to a question from the judges, prosecutors claimed they could not find the addresses of other witnesses, although two of them later testified at Sujana’s trial.

The judges allowed defense lawyers to ask inappropriate and irrelevant questions of some witnesses such as questions probing the religious faith of Sujana in an apparent effort to intimidate them. Outside the courtroom, a lawyer for the defendants said that Sujana must be "bullied till he shits" ("digencet hingga mencret"), but suffered no rebuke from the court. [294]

By contrast, in the separate trial against Sujana for his alleged role in provoking the attack, prosecutors were much more aggressive. They called for Sujana to be sentenced to at least six years in prison, on charges of provocation, disobeying police orders, and maltreatment. In the end, Sujana was sentenced to six months in prison, the same as the maximum sentence imposed on the 12 perpetrators of the deadly attack.[295]

An important explanation for the prosecution’s bias in criminal cases involving religious minorities is the strong presence of Bakor Pakem in public prosecutors’ offices. This presence maintains a channel between the prosecution office and religious establishments like the Indonesian Ulama Council.

For instance, when three defendants were on trial in April 2011 for the burning of an Ahmadiyah mosque, schools, and houses in Cisalada, Bogor, a cleric from the Bogor office of the Indonesian Ulama Council told Bogor prosecutors that if the three young men were not acquitted, “… there will be problems later.”[296] Judges found them guilty, but only sentenced them to between four and six months, and they were immediately released due to time already served in detention.[297]

In some instances, local authorities offered compensation to churches that have been destroyed in lieu of serious investigations and prosecutions. In Kuantan Singingi, Riau, according to church elders, district government officials offered financial assistance to the three burned churches. District officials reportedly offered 5 million rupiah (US$500) to each church if they signed a “peace agreement” (perjanjian damai), promising that the three churches would not file a lawsuit against the government or the alleged perpetrators. Church elders refused to sign. The government and police did not try to investigate or prosecute the arsonists responsible for the destruction of the four churches.[298]

In the 2011 Baha’i case in Sukadana, Islamist militants from Forum Umat Islam loudly and visibly pressured the court. Defense lawyer Yulius Setiarto believes this influenced the verdict and wrote in his appeal to the Supreme Court, “It can be seen from their flags, banners, and headbands. Some of the mob sat on the courtroom benches, creating noisy remarks during the trial sessions.”[299] Setiarto said the protesters had also heckled the defense lawyers, making comments suggesting the violence was justified by Islam, without a response from the court: “They said that our blood is halal.”[300]

Video recordings of the trial, outside the courtroom, show the protesters with banners reading “Baha’i infidel” and “Prosecutors don’t be afraid, we’re all behind you.”[301] The judges took less than a day to reach a guilty verdict, when judges in Indonesia usually take two weeks to write the verdict.

Another example was the sentence that the Sampang court had made on a Sunni villager who was involved in the deadly attack of the Shia hamlet. It only sentenced Saripin, a Nangkernang villager, eight months imprisonment.[302] It was a blatant contrast to Shia cleric Tajul Muluk, whose house was burned, whose family was forced to live in exile, whose friend was killed in the attack, and Muluk was sentenced for blasphemy to four years imprisonment.

Recent Attacks on Freedom of Expression

The Indonesian government’s failure to rein-in violence by Islamist militants has had a knock-on negative impact on free expression. The police and other authorities who are unwilling to protect religious minorities from attack show the same reluctance to protect artists, writers, and media companies who raise the ire of Muslim groups.

On May 4, 2012, the FPI protested outside the Salihara Theater in Jakarta while Canadian writer Irshad Manji was presenting her new book: Allah, Liberty and Love. The protesters surrounded the theater compound and broke down its access gate. [303] The local police chief, Adry Desas Puryanto, responded by unexpectedly entering the theater and informing the audience that he was stopping the book talk. Puryanto justified the interruption of Manji’s talk on the basis that the theater did not have a permit to invite “a foreigner” to talk there. That was a blatant pretext, as there is no provision in Indonesian law requiring foreigners who enter the country legally to obtain a permit before engaging in public speaking. He also cited residents’ opposition to Manji on the basis of her reputation as a gay rights activist. [304]

Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta later cancelled another scheduled public appearance by Manji, five days after the Jakarta attack, at the campus due to security concerns after “hundreds of Muslims” from various organizations complained to the university president that Manji should be prohibited access to the school.[305]

On May 10, 2012, a group of dozens of men wearing clothing which identified them as members of the extremist Indonesian Mujahedeen Council (Majelis Mujahidin Indonesia, MMI) disrupted a talk by Manji at a Yogyakarta publishing company. The MMI members smashed windows and kicked and punched audience members. One of the attackers reportedly struck Manji’s colleague, Emily Rees, with an iron bar, and dislocating one of her vertebrae. [306]

The same week that Islamist groups attacked Manji’s book tour, others rallied against the planned June 3, 2012 concert of American pop star Lady Gaga in Jakarta at a sold-out 52,000-seat stadium in Jakarta.A coalition of Islamist groups opposed the concert on the basis that the singer’s “sexy clothes and dance moves would corrupt the youth.”[307] The FPI threatened to dispatch 30,000 of its members to prevent the concert from occurring.[308] Minister of Religious Affairs Suryadharma Ali supported the Islamist group’s opposition to the concert, stating that Lady Gaga “indulges in pornography by wearing revealing costumes” and that she would have a “negative influence” on young Indonesians:

Her lyrics indicate that she is also an anti-religious person. During her concerts, Lady Gaga looks like a devil worshipper.[309]

Although the Jakarta police denied that it had capitulated to the demands of the Islamist groups, the concert organizers cancelled the event after police refused to issue a permit for the event on the basis that it “may potentially trigger conflicts.”[310]

[244] Human Rights Watch interview with Ahmad Masihuddin, Jakarta, September 10, 2011.

[245] The Rukun Tetangga, or Neighborhood Association, first set up during the Japanese occupation during World War II, is the lowest level administrative body in Indonesia. Each Rukun Tetangga has 10 to 20 families. Each Rukun Warga, or Citizen Association, consists of around 5 to 10 Rukun Tetangga.

[246]Human Rights Committee, General Comment 31, Nature of the General Legal Obligation on States Parties to the Covenant, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.13 (2004), para. 8.

[247] Ibid., para. 18.

[248] International Crisis Group, “Indonesia: “Christianization” and Intolerance,” Asia Briefing no. 114, November 24, 2010, p. 17.

[249] Police are working with Kontras, a human rights organization in Jakarta, to develop a police manual on dealing with religious freedom violations. The program is assisted by the UK government. Human Rights Watch met five Indonesian National Police generals in Jakarta on November 9, 2011, and discussed the initiative, among other topics.

[250] “Amuk Temanggung, Polisi Kantongi Nama Pelaku,” Vivanews, February 8, 2011, http://nasional.vivanews.com/news/read/203559-polisi-kantongi-identitas-pelaku (accessed March 3, 2012).

[251] Human Rights Watch interview  with Rusgandi, Sukadana, Campaka, Cianjur regency, November 6, 2011.

[252] Human Rights Watch interview with Mukhtar Luthfi, Bangil, September 18, 2011.

[253] “Formal Declaration” signed by Syahroni and Iwan Purwanto on June 2, 2011 with 15 witnesses, including nine Muslim leaders and six government officials. It was also signed by Dwi Sulistyawan, the deputy police chief of East Lampung. The six officials were Police Commissioner Medi Iswanda, Police Adjunct Commissioner Julianto PA, Police Second Inspector M. Faisal, Police Adjunct Commissioner Waryono, First Brigadier Joni Paamsyah, and Second Brigadier Budiyono.

[254] Omben police chief Moh. Sofini signed the petition as did his three subordinates: Sudirman, Suncamin, and Sudirmanto. The “Surat Pernyataan” or “Formal Declaration,” dated February 26, 2006, was signed by 40 clerics in Sampang and Pamekasan regencies as well as the four police officers, dated February 26, 2006.

[255] The human rights group Kontras filed a complaint alleging that Sampang police chief Agus Santosa and his staff had improperly pressed for the prosecution Shia cleric Tajul Muluk. See KBR68H, “Kapolres Sampang Dilaporkan ke Propam Mabes Polri,” January 18, 2012, http://www.kbr68h.com/berita/nasional/18238-kapolres-sampang-dilaporkan-ke-propam-mabes-polri (accessed June 27, 2012). But Budi Santosa, the Sampang police chief, was transferred to Magetan, East Java, to head the precinct there in October 2011. See Kedirijaya, “Mutasi Besar-besaran di Polda Jatim dan Jajaran,” October 21, 2011, http://www.kedirijaya.com/2011/10/21/mutasi-besar-besaran-di-polda-jatim-dan-jajaran.html (accessed June 27, 2012).

[256] Human Rights Watch interview with Asia Lumbantoruan,Bekasi, September 13, 2011.

[257] Human Rights Watch interview with Asia Lumbantoruan, Bekasi, September,13, 2011.

[258] Ibid.

[259] Human Rights Watch interview with Asia Lumbantoruan, Bekasi, September 13, 2011.

[260] Human Rights Watch meeting with several police officers, including commissioner Herry Wibowo, at the National Police headquarters in Jakarta, November 9, 2012.

[261] Human Rights Watch interview with Rev. Palti Hartoguan Panjaitan, HKBP Filadefia pastor, Jakarta, February 29, 2012.

[262] Videographer Arif Rachman handed over the video of the deadly attack to some Ahmadiyah activists in Jakarta who later gave it to Metro TV. But Metro TV decided not to broadcast the video. The activists then asked a Jakarta journalist to upload the video on YouTube. Police and prosecutors used the video in their investigation. See Andreas Harsono, “Indonesia’s Religious Violence: The Reluctance of Reporters to Tell the Story,” Nieman Reports, Fall 2011, http://www.nieman.harvard.edu/reports/article/102685/Indonesias-Religious-Violence-The-Reluctance-of-Reporters-to-Tell-the-Story.aspx (accessed July 22, 2012).

[263] Human Rights Watch interview with an Ahmadiyah man, Jakarta, September 10, 2011.

[264] YouTube video posted by Andreas Harsono, “Anti-Ahmadiyah Violence in Cikeusik,” February 6, 2011, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgY6N6Qe5EA&list=UUCclbzQxO11n4dMB6ZSpyCg&index=2&feature=plcp (accessed July 22, 2012).

[265] The shahadah is the basic creed of Islam that must be recited under oath: "I testify there are no deities other than God alone and I testify that Mohammad is the Messenger of God." Muslims must repeat the shahadah in prayer, and non-Muslims wishing to convert to Islam are required to recite the creed. Ahmadiyah also recite the shahadah.

[266] Human Rights Watch interview with Ahmad Muhamad, a witness to the Cikeusik attack, Jakarta, September 10, 2011.

[267] Human Rights Watch interview with Ahmadiyah woman, 35, of Cikeusik village, Jakarta, September 10, 2011. Sarimie is an Indonesian brand of instant noodles; the term is used derogatorily for people who change their religion due to material incentives, for instance, better schools, financial assistance, or food.

[268] “Korban Tragedi Cikeusik masih Trauma,” Berita Satu, February 6, 2012, http://www.beritasatu.com/mobile/nasional/30110-korban-tragedi-cikeusik-masih-trauma.html (accessed March 18, 2012).

[269] The institutions vandalized include the Indonesian Bethel Church (Gereja Bethel Indonesia, GBI) and its Shekinah school; the Temanggung Pentecost Church (Gereja Pantekosta Temanggung) where rioters burned two cars parked inside the compound; and the Santo Petrus Paulus Catholic church. Human Rights Watch phone interview with Dwinugraha Sulistia MSF, pastor of the St. Petrus Paulus, Temanggung, January 27, 2012.

[270] “Kapolda: SMS Undangan Dakwah, Pemicu Rusuh Temanggung,” Solopos, February 8, 2011, http://www.solopos.com/2011/channel/jateng/kapolda-sms-undangan-dakwah-pemicu-rusuh-temanggung-85182 (accessed February 27, 2012).

[271] “Terima Vonis, Syihabudin Batal Ajukan Banding,” Republika, June 21, 2011, http://www.republika.co.id/berita/nasional/hukum/11/06/21/ln46ya-terima-vonis-syihabudin-batal-ajukan-banding (accessed Jan. 6, 2012).

[272] Human Rights Watch interviews with five Indonesian National Police generals, Jakarta, November 9, 2011. Brig. Gen. RM Panggabean chaired the meeting.

[273] “Polisi: Ahmadiyah Menyerang Lebih Dulu,” Vivanews, May 3, 2012, http://nasional.vivanews.com/news/read/218218-polisi--ahmadiyah-menyerang-lebih-dulu (accessed March 15, 2012).

[274] Human Rights Watch interview with lawyer Yulius Setiarto, Jakarta, September 13, 2011.

[275] Human Rights Watch interview with Alexander An, Sijunjung prison, April 9, 2012.

[276] The “Surat Pernyataan” or “Formal Declaration,” dated February 26, 2006, was signed by 40 clerics in Sampang and Pamekasan regencies as well as four police officers of the Omben district police station. The 40 clerics all have titles “kyai haji,” which means that all of them had gone to Mecca and Medina as pilgrims (“haji”) and all are teachers at Islamic boarding schools (“kyai”).

[277] Human Rights Watch interview with madrasah assistants Ali Mullah and Mohammad Zaini, Nangkernang , September 19, 2011.

[278] You Tube account hariri58, “Aksi Pembakaran Kelompok Syiah oleh Sunni di Sampang Madura,” December 29, 2011, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=362RWe8H0zQ (accessed December 29, 2011).

[279] It’s a view commonly aired by Sunni clerics in various documents issued in 2006-2012. Minister of Religious Affairs Suryadharma Ali reiterated this view when having a meeting with the parliament on September 5, 2012. Ali said, “The best solution for what has been going on in there is dialogue. Many things can happen after a dialogue. We had an experience where the Ahmadis [...] converted to mainstream Islam after dialogue.” It was a reference to Ahmadis who were pressured to become Sunnis. See “Shia conversion is solution: Minister,” Jakarta Post, September 6, 2012, http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/09/06/shia-conversion-solution-minister.html (accessed September 9, 2012).

[280] Sita W. Dewi, “Two Shia followers reportedly killed in Sampang melee,” The Jakarta Post, August 26, 2012, http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/08/26/two-shia-followers-reportedly-killed-sampang-melee.html (accessed September 4, 2012).

[281] “Kontras: Ada Pembiaran Polisi di Kasus Sampang,” Tempo, August 29, 2012, http://www.tempo.co/read/news/2012/08/29/078426154/Kontras-Ada-Pembiaran-Polisi-di-Kasus-Sampang

[282] “Persecution: From Lombok to Sampang,” The Jakarta Post, September 4, 2012, http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/09/04/persecution-from-lombok-sampang.html (accessed September 4, 2012).

[283]  Ferry Putra, “Ancaman untuk Pendeta Palti” video, April 19, 2012, http://vimeo.com/40669418 (accessed June 25, 2012).

[284] “Indonesia: Monitor Trials of Deadly Attack on Religious Minority,” Human Rights Watch news release, June 17, 2011, http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/06/16/indonesia-monitor-trials-deadly-attack-religious-minority (accessed March 3, 2012).

[285] Human Rights Watch interview with Ahmad Muhamad, witness to the Cikeusik attack, Jakarta, September, 10, 2011.

[286] Human Rights Watch interview with Herida Sinaga, a vendor whose stall is near the Santo Antonius church, Taluk Kuantan, October 21, 2011.

[287]On April 14, 2011, the election commission announced its final tally: Sukarmis won with 82,504 votes (54percent) and Mursini received 69,600 (45 percent). See Riau Terkini, “Pleno KPU Kuansing Tegaskan Kemenangan Sukarmis,” April 14, 2011.

[288] The St. Antonius church catechist, Petrus Sakur, who witnessed the attack, said he believes the arson was in retaliation against the Batak association in Kuantan Singingi for having openly supported Sukarmis. Human Rights Watch interview with Petrus Sakur,Taluk Kuantan, October 21, 2011.

[289] Human Rights Watch interview with Salmon Ketaren of the Batak Karo Protestant Church,Taluk Kuantan, October 22, 2011.

[290] Human Rights Watch interview with Lasni Simanjuntak of the Pentecostal Church in Indonesia, Taluk Kuantan, October 22, 2011.

[291] Human Rights Watch interview with Dimer Siregar the Methodist Church in Indonesia, Taluk Kuantan, October 22, 2011.

[292] Human Rights Watch interview with John Saprianto Purba of the Methodist Church in Indonesia, Taluk Kuantan, October 22, 2011.

[293] Cikeusik Trial on YouTube, “Cikeusik Trial - Session VII - May 31, 2011,” uploaded on June 6, 2011, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ryhfl_no3I (accessed June 12, 2012).

[294] “Letter to Judiciary Commission regarding Ahmadiyah trials,” Human Rights Watch news release, June 17, 2011, http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/06/16/indonesia-letter-judiciary-commission-regarding-ahmadiyah-trials  (accessed June 12, 2012).

[295] Indonesian Assault Victim Gets Harsher Sentence Than His Attackers,” New York Times, August 15, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/16/world/asia/16indonesia.html (accessed June 12, 2012).

[296] “Young Attackers of Cisalada Ahmadiyah Sent to Prison,” Jakarta Globe, April 14, 2011 http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/young-attackers-of-cisalada-ahmadiyah-sent-to-prison/435301 (accessed June 27, 2012).

[297] Ibid.

[298]Human Rights Watch interview with nine church elders,  Kuantan Singingi, October 22, 2011: Pertua Trima Ketaren; Makmur Tarigan; Abjon Rianto Sitinjak; Dimer Siregar; Maralop Sitorus; Salmon Ketaren; Lasni Simanjuntak; Goklas Mian Tambunan; and Jon Saprianto Purba.

[299] Setiarto, Yulius, Memori Kasasi Case Number 130/Pid/2010/PN.TK East Lampung district court on behalf of Syahroni and Iwan Purwanto, March 8, 2011, p. 12.

[300] Human Rights Watch interview with lawyer Yulius Setiarto, Jakarta, September 13, 2011. Setiarto also provided a DVD with footage of the protesters in the courtroom.

[301] Lawyer Yulius Setiarto provided the video to Human Rights Watch.

[302] “Pelaku kerusuhan Sampang divonis 8 bulan penjara,” Merdeka, January 22, 2013, http://www.merdeka.com/peristiwa/pelaku-kerusuhan-sampang-divonis-8-bulan-penjara.html (accessed on January 25, 2013).

[303] “Kronologi Pembubaran Paksa Diskusi Irshad Manji,” Salihara, May 5, 2012, http://salihara.org/community/2012/05/05/kronologi-pembubaran-paksa-diskusi-irshad-manji (accessed June 28, 2012).

[304] Ibid.

[305] “Alasan UGM Larang Diskusi Irshad Manji,” Tempo, May 9, 2012, http://www.tempo.co/read/news/2012/05/09/058402711/Alasan-UGM-Larang-Diskusi-Irshad-Manji (accessed September 2, 2012).

[306] Michael Bachelard, “Lady Gaga concert under threat from Islamic hardliners after attack on author,” Sydney Morning Herald, May 15, 2012, http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/music/lady-gaga-concert-under-threat-from-islamic-hardliners-after-attack-on-author-20120514-1ymyd.html  (accessed September 2, 2012)

[307] “Lady Gaga Cancels Indonesian Show After Threats,” Associated Press, May 27, 2012, http://bigstory.ap.org/content/lady-gaga-cancels-indonesian-show-after-threats (accessed January 25, 2013). Those groups included the Indonesian Ulema Council, the FPI, the Islamic People’s Forum (Forum Umat Islam, FUI), the Anti-Misdeeds People’s Movement (Gumam), Wahdah Islamiyah, and the Indonesian Culture Institution, as well as the Prosperous Justice Party and United Development Party (PPP).

[308] “Hard-Line FPI Buys 150 Tickets to Stop Lady Gaga Concert,” Jakarta Globe, May 21, 2012 http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/hard-line-fpi-buys-150-tickets-to-stop-lady-gaga-concert/519194 (accessed June 29, 2012).

[309]“‘Gaga is a devil worshipper’: Minister,” Jakarta Post, May 17 2012, http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/05/17/gaga-a-devil-worshipper-minister.html (accessed January 25, 2013).

[310] “Police Threaten to Disperse Lady Gaga’s Jakarta Concert,” Jakarta Globe, May 17, 2012,  http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/police-threaten-to-disperse-lady-gagas-jakarta-concert/518431 (accessed January 25, 2013).