This Is Not Denny Indrayana

By N. Mark Castro

In his most recent display of embarrassing arrogance, Deputy Justice and Human Rights Minister Denny Indrayana continues to redefine the cliche: “Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.”

It took him 4 years, to be exact.

It was 2008, he was then a 37-year-old constitutional law expert from Gajah Mada University (UGM) who had been a vocal critic of President Susilo Bambang Yudyohono (SBY) over corruption in the country’s flawed and slow judicial system. Together with colleagues, he helped found the Judicial Watch NGO Indonesian Court Monitoring (ICM).

There was no small issue he did not address. There was no big issue from which he backed down. He may have been a small voice in a sea of corruption, but he floated along to push the tides. This was Denny Indrayana: admired by his peers, followed by his students, and seen by elders as one of the brightest hopes of the country.

Then SBY made him an offer.

There went the ballgame.

His peers were baffled. His students were lost. And the elders, well, they’ve seen it all.

In one short sweep, Denny transformed from being one of the staunchest critics of SBY’s lackluster performance in judicial reform to being an apologist or, as they call it, special adviser for legal affairs. To add icing on the political cake,  he was also appointed as member of then newly established Judicial Corruption Task Force. It’s greatest achievement at the time: unveiling the special treatment rich inmates were given in the country’s penitentiaries, after a surprise inspection of graft convict Artalita Suryani’s prison cell …

But when push came to shove (there goes another political cliche), Denny’s presence in SBY’s office was useless in responding to “the alleged framing of two deputy chairmen of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), Bibit Samad Rianto and Chandra M. Hamzah, and, most recently, the Bank Century bailout case…

His friends, peers and colleagues at the Indonesian Court Monitoring (ICM) Judiciary Watch — which he helped co-found — had asked him to resign as he had been ineffective in his self-pronounced mission to fight from within. It was an ugly picture of being eaten by the very same system he had once sworn to fight.

According to the same report:

In the public’s eye, Denny switched from being a staunch advocate for judicial reform and anti-corruption activist, to a defender of the government’s slow performance, fellow UGM faculty member Zainal Arifin Mochtar said.

Zainal is the head of UGM’s Center for anti-corruption studies, a position Denny held before he served the President.

“In his current situation, he’s not able to explain to the public how he works from the inside and whether his current work is in line with his previous advocacy work carried out from the outside,” he said in a telephone interview. “Because of that, the public has lost trust in Denny.”

And after toiling in the privileged halls of Istana Merdeka and his office, Denny resurfaced recently in the news again. Early this April, according to reports,

Denny allegedly slapped Sihombing, a prison guard, after Pekanbaru were slow to open the doors during Denny’s unannounced visit to Pekanbaru at 2:30 Monday morning. The deputy minister’s assistant also kicked Khoiril, another prison guard, in the stomach.

Naturally, it raised a howl of protest, as reported in The Jakarta Globe:

“As a representative to the people, I believe they are very disappointed [with this incident]. I want the President to take firm action on this, firing [Denny] if necessary,”  Agun Gunanjar Sudarsa, the head of the House of Representatives’ Commission II, told journalists in Jakarta.

This was Denny Indrayana: admired by his peers, followed by his students, and seen by elders as one of the brightest hopes of the country. There was no small issue he did not address. There was no big issue from which he backed down. He may have been a small voice in a sea of corruption, but he floated along to push the tides.

So if the prison guards took forever to open the doors for the Prince of Indonesia, they deserved to be slapped, punched, and kicked.

The chronology of events in the prison cell is reported here.

And to add further excitement in his political career, Denny yet again displayed his new-found political colors a month after, as reported on a news leak he’d made that didn’t even belong in the purview of his office:

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) was on Friday urged to show its independence from the government by getting tough on a deputy minister who released information about a political rival being a suspect of the antigraft agency.

On Wednesday, Deputy Justice and Human Rights Minister Denny Indrayana revealed that Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician Emir Moeis was wanted over a 2004 power plant project in Lampung. The announcement, which preempted a statement by the KPK antigraft agency on the matter, sparked accusations that the deputy minister was seeking to smear his political opponents.

Further in the report:

Trimedya called Denny’s behavior unethical. “We should question why Denny made the announcement and not the KPK,” Trimedya said. “Was he trying to suck up to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono or was there political motivation?”

The KPK issued a travel ban for Emir in a letter sent to the Justice and Human Rights Ministry on Monday.

Denny read the letter and saw that Emir was not only having a travel ban imposed on him, but was also named as a suspect.

Misbakhun, a member of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), said that Denny had become not only a deputy minister but also a sycophant. Denny did not make a similar announcement when the KPK imposed a travel ban on Democratic Party financier Hartati Murdaya, who was linked to a graft case, Misbakhun said.

“Denny Indrayana is no longer a member of a nongovernmental organization,” he said, referring to Denny’s past as a co-founder of legal watchdog Indonesian Court Monitoring. “He’s become an integral part of the government’s bureaucracy, which is governed by rule,” he said.

So if KPK officers are slow to make a public statement on issues of corruption, he would say it himself, never mind the benefits it would give him.

After all, this was Denny Indrayana: admired by his peers, followed by his students, and seen by elders as one of the brightest hopes of the country. There was no small issue he did not address. There was no big issue from which he backed down. He may have been a small voice in a sea of corruption, but he floated along to push the tides.

And the beauty of Denny Indrayana’s non-elective political career is that he continues to flaunt his esteemed position. As of yesterday’s report at The Jakarta Globe

Outspoken Deputy Justice Minister Denny Indrayana received widespread condemnation from the legal community after saying on Twitter that lawyers defending corruptors were equally as corrupt, since they received fees from ill-gotten wealth.

“I was once an advocate and rejected clients in cases of corruption. It is fitting. Advocates of corruptors are corruptors [themselves]. They receive pay from proceeds of corruption acts,” he tweeted to his more than 83,000 followers.

Denny’s boss, Justice Minister Amir Syamsuddin, who has previously defended officials on suspicion of corruption, said he was not offended by his deputy’s tweets.

“Advocates’ work is always based on legal principles. When someone is named a suspect, even with the world thinking he is guilty, [an advocate] must not do the same,” Amir said.

Innocent, until proven guilty, apparently, does not exist in the constitution of Denny Indrayana, supposedly a former youthful constitutional expert. Which makes you wonder, really, what constitution was he studying? His advanced education for masters degree from the University of Minnesota in the US and doctoral program at the University of Melbourne in Australia was nowhere near to be found in his Denny’s most recent statement, which begs the question, should he not demand for a refund?

Denny Indrayana, the lone voice in a sea of corruption, enemy of the corrupt, defender of human rights, and protector of the legal jurisprudence of the land.

With his brilliant logic, he has deduced that advocates (Lawyers) of the corrupt are themselves corrupt. Never mind that the most seemingly guilty individual deserves the best legal defense the country should afford to prove its case; in his eyes, the entire proceeding would be a waste of time because mere suspicion or allegation of corruption not only is a sentence, but applies to the legal defense as well.

In the same report,

Yusril Ihza Mahendra, Amir’s predecessor as justice minister and himself also a prominent lawyer, was less forgiving.

“Saying an advocate defending a corruption defendant is a corruptor [himself] is like saying that a president that pardons a crime syndicate is a syndicate member himself,” he tweeted to his 40,000 followers.

This was Denny Indrayana: admired by his peers, followed by his students, and seen by elders as one of the brightest hopes of the country. There was no small issue he did not address. There was no big issue from which he backed down. He may have been a small voice in a sea of corruption, but he floated along to push the tides.

4 years later, he bends to kiss the derriere of a lame bebek president, supported by traditional politicians, enshrined in the halls of government, privileged among the 250 million Indonesians, the Legal Prince of the Republic of Indonesia.

This is Denny Indrayana.

About Asmartrock

N. Mark Castro is the chief political communications strategist for PT AsiaLeads, a political and communications policy-making body based in Jakarta, Indonesia. He is also the Executive Director at the Southeast Asia Consulting Group, an investment advisory company assisting clients roll out their presence for the ASEAN Economic Integration in partnership with government. The views posted here are his own and do not in any way reflect the views of the companies he represents.

Posted on August 23, 2012, in General, Politics and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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