Thursday, October 27, 2011

Indonesia Intelligence Law Draconian: Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch called Thursday for Indonesia's new intelligence law to be repealed or amended, slamming it as vague and broad, and likely to mute political opposition and disarm the media.

HRW urged for the law to be repealed or amended to meet international human rights standards, fearing it could impose "repressive practices" reminiscent of the Suharto dictatorship. Broad terms such as "national stability" and "opponents" in the law had been invoked during Suharto's rule to justify crackdowns on pro--democracy activists, it pointed out.

HRW called for an "improved and independent" oversight of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN), which was granted "special powers" to intercept communications and track fund flows suspected for terrorism activities with a court order. It said that because the courts are known to act on political interests, BIN could use spying as a tool for political repression against politicians and activists.

Indonesian human rights groups are worried the law will persecute activists and limit freedom of expression.

BIN's deputy chief Muchdi Purwopranjono was acquitted of plotting the murder of activist Munir Said Thalib in September 2004. An independent team examining the trial last year found that BIN had refused to cooperate in the case and withheld key documentation that would have supported the prosecution, HRW said.

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