Activist Slamming Christmas Ban Nabbed by Police

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    TEMPO.CO, JakartaWest Sumatra Police reportedly arrested an activist from Inter-Community Studies Center (Pusaka) Sudarto for allegedly spreading hate speech through social media regarding Christmas celebration in Dharmasraya Regency.

    “He is arrested at his house,” West Sumatra Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Stefanus Satake Bayu Setianto verified in Padang, Tuesday, January 7. He said Sudarto was secured at 1:30 p.m. at his house located on Jalan Veteran, Purus.

    Stefanus explained that Sudarto deliberately distributed information that triggered individual or group hostility based on ethnicity, religion, and race (SARA) and hoax news via Facebook.

    Sudarto, he added, was still undergoing examination at the police headquarters.

    Sudarto faced charges of Article 45 (A)2 in conjunction with Article 28 of Law No. 19 of 2016 on the amendment of Law No. 11 of 2008 on Electronic Information and Transaction or ITE Law and Article 14 (1) and (2) of the 1946 Criminal Code.

    “He has been named a suspect and will undergo the further process,” Stefanus said.

    Previously, the head of a youth group Pemuda Jorong Kampung Baru of Nagari Sikabau, Harry Permana, filed a police report on December 29 against Sudarto for allegedly spreading false information in light of the ban on Christmas celebration in the region. Sudarto made the post on December 14-15.

    Harry clarified that Nagari Sikabau had never restricted the Christmas celebration but rather prohibited people from outside the region to hold or celebrate it in the area.

    Human rights communities condemned the arrest of Sudarto. Deputy chief of Setara Institute Bonar Tigor Naipospos said the case was a new strategy from intolerant groups to silence critical people on social media. "Unfortunately, the law enforcers tend to favor the majority group," Bonar said.

    AVIT HIDAYAT | ANTARA