And Justice For All

In light of the recent injustice that happened yet again to young children as reported by The Jakarta Globe, I am reprinting an article that I’d published before denouncing Indonesia’s inefficient police and legal system.

By N. Mark Castro

That a child should spend time in jail for an offense so minor a strong reprimand could have done the job is simply beyond plain logic. At the very least, a discussion between complainants, witnesses, community elders, parents, initiated by the police could have resolved the issue swiftly, without exposing the innocence of the child to the hardened criminals.

If you really wanted to scare the child, have the hardened criminals advise him of the repercussions of a criminal life.

What is worse, however, that the case continues to exist is equally beyond the logic of justice and legal acumen. The prosecutor, supposedly armed with the knowledge of the law, could have called for the police and discussed the issue. The judge, upon receiving the legal papers, could have thrown it out immediately.

No one did.

Have we become a society so litigious that the innocence of a child is contested for a minor offense?

Where are the Islamic elders to advise the errant child? Where is the Human Rights Commission?

That a child be threatened with 7 years of incarceration for a crime so trivial does not only assault the sense of justice but the sense of humanity.

Why are we quick to apply the fullest extent of the law to this child when we barely could touch the people behind Gayus?

The Islamic Defenders Front, naturally, was nowhere to be found.

Former National Police chief detective Susno Duadji leaked information on corruption practices involving the tax office, the National Police, the Attorney General’s Office and numerous domestic and foreign companies. Overnight he became the country’s most wanted criminal to most valuable information asset but was jailed instead.

None of his peers, superiors, or even the companies were investigated.

Ariel of Peterpan band is jailed for the crime of publicly distributing his private sex video which, as court records show, was stolen from his private laptop by Reza Rizaldy who, in turn, as court records show and as the prosecutors stated, endorsed it to his cousin, Anggit Gagah Pratama, who uploaded the video.

Ariel is in jail. Reza gets a mere two years. Anggit is free. And so are Ariel’s partners Cut Tari and Luna Maya.

The High Court of Bandung, in upholding the decision of the lower court, stated that it considered the opinions and reactions of those present during the hearing, which was the FPI.

Meanwhile, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Indonesia has ruled that private sex videos are not illegal.

In another story, an 11 year old girl, identified only as W.D.E., shows up in the National Examinations two months pregnant. Government officials and activists are busy arguing about her legal right to take the examinations. They are busy researching for the finer prints of the law whether or not she should be segregated from the rest of the students.

No one.

Not a single Indonesian soul.

Not a single government official.

Not a single police officer.

No one even dared to ask who and how she got pregnant.

Was she raped? Was she forced into sex? Was it incest? Was she forced into marriage?

No one.

She’s a girl. Probably promiscuous, likely immoral. Stone her to death.

Both government officials and activists are debating whether or not she should and could take the text.

The defenders of faith, the protector of morality, the last strength of Islam, the FPI, of course, was nowhere to be found.

It has to do with education.

They have little or no use of it.

Besides, W.D.E. need not take the national examinations. The lessons she’s learned in this entire circus is far invaluable than the one she could possibly hope.

Johan Teterisa, an elementary school teacher, frustrated with the Central Government, decided to show his protest by unfurling the independent flag of Maluku. He is jailed for life.

Meanwhile, terrorist-cleric Basyir calls the president — and the founding fathers of the country — as infidels, right inside the courtroom.

No outright incarceration.

No public protest.

No official protest from various government agencies or ministries.

Not a word from the president either.

The Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), at one point, has called for a revolution like that seen in Egypt as they continue to threaten to oust President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono unless he outlaws a minority Muslim sect. They were invited inside to the palace instead.

For months now, The Supreme Court of Indonesia ruled that the Christian Church in Bogor has every legal right to open its doors. The Bogor Administration continues to lock it instead.

This is the Republic of Indonesia, a beacon of democracy in Asia, comprising 17,508 islands, thirty three provinces, with over 200 languages, and spanning three time zones. With over 250 million people, it is inarguably the biggest economy in Southeast Asia, the fourth most populous country in the world, and has the largest population of Muslims in the world.

This is the Republic of Indonesia, a country tempered by time and culture, with rich natural wonders, abundant resources, and history far older than the state.

This is the Republc of Indonesia, a country to all men, women, and child, with freedom gained from the colonizers, and laws created by the founding fathers, and enhanced by the succeeding generations.

Or whatever the FPI says it could be.


About Asmartrock

N. Mark Castro is the Southeast Asia Director of JUMP DIGITAL Asia, which is an internationally-awarded and fully integrated digital marketing agency with 5 out of 10 offices in the ASEAN region. He is also the Secretary General of the Philippine Business Club Indonesia, managing and assisting the traffic of investments between the Philippines and Indonesia. He shuttles between Indonesia, Philippines, Myanmar, Singapore, Cambodia, and Australia. The views posted here are his own and do not in any way reflect the views of the companies he represents.

Posted on August 15, 2012, in General, Politics and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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