By: T. Nugroho Angkasa
The Indonesian Supreme Court granted the appeal of prosecutor Martha Berliana Tobing in the case of Anand Krishna. Case file number is 691 K/PID/2012. The panel of the judges were Judge Zaharuddin Utama, Achmad Sofyan, and Sitompul Yamanie. They read out the verdict on July 24, 2012 at Jakarta, Indonesia.
In my humble opinion, this decision is simply a strategy to remove the pluralist leader, pluralism, minority religious beliefs systems from Indonesia through fear, corruption, intimidation, conspiracy, and outright misuse of the law.
In the twitter account @mashikam, AS Hikam also criticized it. “The Supreme Court’s decision is absurd, by punishing Mr. Anand Krishna they are embarrassing themselves. The justice system in Indonesia has no conscience”.
Furthermore, the Minister in the era of Gus Dur added on his personal website, “I fully support the efforts of Mr. Anand Krishna and friends to bring the case to the International Court. The appeal made by the Indonesian Supreme Court that granted the prosecutor’s demand, then punish him 2.5 years, for me is travesty of law and justice”.
If the previous acquittal can be canceled there is no longer credibility and honor of the judiciary in this country. Now is the time for a review of this case on an International level. I am very certain that the Indonesian Supreme Court will be judged as creating a direct violation of Mr. Anand’s human rights (source: http://www.mashikam.com/2012/08/putusan-ma-terhadap-pak-anand-krishna.html).
Responding to the appeal against the acquittal, Anand Ashram’s Sympathizers Community (Komunitas Pecinta Anand Ashram) was very surprised by the Indonesian Supremes Courts decision. The acquittal was passed by the prolific judge named Albertina Ho (22 November 2011). This law heroine is known as a credible person. She has the integrity, professionalism and experience of more than 20 years as a judge.
In addition, the former Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Yusril Ihza Mahendra, has emphasized that the appeal against acquittal is unconstitutional. Article no. 244 in the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP, Kitab Undang-undang Hukum Pidana) mentions that “The criminal case against the verdict is given by the court on the last level other than the Supreme Court, the defendant or the prosecutor may request examination of appeal to the Supreme Court except the acquittal”.
In his twitter account @yusrilihza-Mhd Yusril wrote, “Anand Krishna’s acquittal appeal is confusing to me”. The Criminal Code clearly states that a acquittal cannot be appealed”. In line with the opinion from a senior lawyer, Todung Mulya Lubis at his twitter account @TodungLubis wrote, “There is no appeal for acquittal. If it is so, this is a deviation and uncommon”.
As a result, Anand Krishna’s attorneys, family, and sympathizers are determined to cast Peninjauan Kembali (judicial review) and broadcast this case to the International Court for justice and human rights. According to Prashant, Anand’s son, “The effort had to be taken because the laws enforcement in Indonesia is corrupt”.
There has been a massive show of support from Humanitad Foundation (see http://www.humanitad.org/). The founder of this global human rights NGO is named Sacha Stone. He read a statement out at the Monument at Bajra Renon, Denpasar, Bali on Monday, August 6, 2012. Sacha said that “The acquittal is a gross violation of human rights and not even in line with the Indonesian Constitution and also against the international standard of jurisprudence”.
“If this injustice can happen to a prominent person such as Anand Krishna, then it can happen to anyone. This is not about Anand Krishna, but this is about you and me. It is about all of us. By supporting Anand Krishna you are actually supporting your own human rights, interests, and dignity. Sacha Stone shouted loudly. People can watch the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcLAFQcycwg&feature=share.
Since the process of investigation, Anand Krishna’s case has become controversial. People can clearly smell the taste of conspiracy and corruption. According to a criminal law expert from Faculty of Law (Fakultas Hukum) University of Gadjah Mada (UGM) in Yogyakarta, Prof. Dr. Edward Omar Sharif Hiariej, in terms of both formal and material it cannot be fulfilled. Therefore, if the case is allowed to continue by the state, he believes that it is 99% well packed before.
First, in terms of formal, he explained that Anand was entangled with article no 290 paragraph 1 from the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) and article no 294 paragraph 2 from the Criminal Code Jo article no 64 paragraph 1. Person that understands well the law shall laugh at this, because the election was totally weak. It is because the article stated 7 years penalty of imprisonment for those who commit lewd acts on a person in an unconscious or helpless condition. However in fact, the court was admitted that Tara was aware while (the allegation) abuse was happening.
Second, in term of material, it is stranger. There is minimum provision to bring at least 2 witnesses. However, until today there is no one to be met. Tara Pradipta Laksmi (19) is the only complainant. Then, her friend said there was another friend who was also abused. However, all of the information are not linked each other. It is merely like gossiping. Ironically, gossip can be used as a fact in the law process at this beloved country.
Moreover, Prof. Eddy, his nick name, indicated there was a systematic attempt to get rid of Anand Krishna forever. This is the third time of such criminalization. First, it was in 2000 about blasphemy then it was not proven because it has been corroborated by the statement from some Islamic leaders. Second, it was in 2005 about a fraudulent related to an amount of money Rp150 million. There was also no evidence at all and the case was eventually withdrawn by the complainant (Source: http://www.ugm.ac.id/index.php?page=rilis&artikel=3815).
Pater Franz Magnis Suseno SJ highlighted from another perspective. Allegation of sexual harassment addressing to Anand Krishna is only a diversion from a bigger scenario. The goal is to drop the piece of mind from that interfaith spiritual leader.
Furthermore, Pater Magnis assessed the litigation over Anand Krishna’s thoughts should not be occurred in a country that try to uphold pluralism high. The law enforcement done by the officials should follow the normal process in accordance with justice road map. Moreover, in the trials, he questioned why the previous Judge was questioning Anand Krishna’s teachings and writings. For him, that was an incredible impertinence.
The lecturer in STF (Sekolah Tinggi Filsafat) Driyarkara said that the trial of Anand was not fair, reasonable, and ethical. Pater appealed to the judges so that they do not harass the law and run an illegal conspiracy. The object of this case now is the figure of Anand Krishna with his spirituality. For him, Anand Krishna is an important figure in the era of openness, humanity, and pluralism in this country (Source: http://freeanandkrishna.com/).
In essence, the problem of Anand Krishna is no longer a personal issue, but a fundamental case. Surely, if it is related to the (allegation) of sexual harassment, people tend to see it from a secure distance, including the mass media. They tend to cover the surface phenomenon only or do not write their opinions in fear that the same injustices may happen to them if they open their mouths. Journalists need to investigate further, deeper and not live in fear of the injustice that occurs. We the people can change this. I believe the court is against the vision of One Earth, One Sky, One Humankind (source: http://www.charterforglobalharmony.org/).
The trial of a person’s thoughts should not be happen anymore. Johannes Hariyanto SJ, who is often familiarly called Pater Hary, said this, the secretariat of Indonesian Conference on Religious and Peace (ICRP) on 15 April 2011. As reported by Chris Poerba in his detail investigative report, Pater Hary was one of the speakers who expressed his views in a press conference titled, “Voice of Justice from Religious Leaders and Community Leaders – Thoughts should not Be Judged and Criminalized” (source: http://v2.ICRP-online.org).
The trial which lasted for 2 years also changed the chairman of the judges in the District Court (Pengadilan Negeri) at South Jakarta. Why? Because the chief judge named Hari Sasangka was caught on camera involved in improper sexual conduct with a witness named Shinta Kencana Kheng outside the court in a car. Judge Hari Sasangka then transferred to Ambon and exposed this with disciplinary punishment. Clearly reforms need to be made within the judicial system in Indonesia.
Moreover, people can hear from the court’s record that only 10% of is discussing the sexual harassment case. Meanwhile the other 90% of the case was concerned about the thoughts, activities, and 150 and more books written by Anand Krishna. Unfortunately, the mainstream media tend to report from sexual harassment point of view only (watch the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCmh-mbqW3I&feature=related).
In the profound context, I can’t agree more to Romo Sapto Rahardjo’s keen analysis. The chairman of Pancasila Moral Reconciliation Movement (Gerakan Moral Rekonsiliasi Pancasila) Yogyakarta said that the case of Anand Krishna was also often experienced by many transformer leaders who fought for truth, nationality, and upheld Pancasila. There are some parties who felt threatened by the movement of those social leaders. The pattern is still the same; they manipulated and sponsored a case for dropping and blocking the noble struggle. The social leaders were blasted with some legal issues that have been well packed previously.
Last but not least, citing AS Hikam’s thesis after the acquittal was read on 22 November 2011, “Although this country has already entered into a democratic system and reformation era, but still many slanders and conspiracies are directed to the fighters of democracy and human rights. It can be stopped if the justice is set apart and freed from interference from political and ideological parties’ vested interests. It is then that noble figures such as Mr. Anand Krishna can be protected from a slander”. Hail Justice!
Footnote: This opinion article was sent directly by the author to e-mail address of ASPENSI on August 30, 2012.
T. Nugroho Angkasa is a special correspondent of Anand Ashram Foundation (affiliated with UN, 2006) living in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.