Jopi Peranginangin: The Story of a Slain Activist

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    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Jopi Peranginangin, a 39-year-old activist, was killed in the Venue Bar and Lounge Kemang, South Jakarta, yesterday morning. Jopi started his days as an activist at the National Student League for Democracy. At that time, Jopi, who was born in Kisaran, Asahan, North Sumatra, went to study at the University of Tadulako, Palu.

    "He joined the Indigenous Peoples Alliance (LMND) in Jakarta in 2004," said Rahung Nasution, 39 years old, at the Pertamina Hospital in Jakarta, Saturday, May 23, 2015.

    Rahung admitted that he had known Jopi since they were both active in LMND. In contrast to Jopi, who took a path as an activist through organizations such as WALHI, AMAN, Greenpeace, and Sawit Watch, Rahung chose to be a social activist without any kind of organization associating him. Now, Rahung is known as a chef who has many followers on Twitter, a.k.a. 'selebtweet', or a twitter celebrity.

    "Jopi was always happy. He had a good manner which made him lot of friends from different backgrounds," said Rahung.

    From their friendship, said Rahung, Jopi was known to be an orphan. He just had an uncle who now lives in Palu, Central Sulawesi. Rahung explained that Jopi's uncle will pick up Jopi's body in Jakarta. However, it is yet to be decided whether the corpse will be buried in Kisaran or in Palu, Central Sulawesi.

    Mina Susana Sestra, another friend of Jopi, knew Jopi when both of them became social activists in an organization called AMAN. According to Mina, during their days in AMAN, Jopi handled the internal and external media matters of the organization. Jopi became the Director of Information and Communications at AMAN before finally moving to Sawit Watch, said Mina.

    "If there are cases affecting indigenous peoples throughout the country and need immediate treatment, Jopi was the one who will take care of it," said Mina in the Pertamina Hospital.

    Over at AMAN, said Mina, Jopi actively participates in campaigns such as the discussion of the Law on the Management of Coastal Areas and Small Islands, the Law on Environmental Management, and got a bit of role in the birth of the Village Act. Last year, said Mina, Jopi and AMAN also continue to encourage the release of Law of Indigenous Peoples. "There is already a draft for it, but it was stalled at the House of Representatives," said Mina.

    Mina further explained that Jopi also played a role in the planning of the inclusion of indigenous territories into the Geospatial Information Agency's one map policy. The most striking achievement, said Mina, was the Constitutional Court decision No. 35 of 2011 which recognizes the existence of indigenous forests. Despite this, said Mina, Jopi and his friends' achievement at AMAN was folowed by the presence of criminalization and evictions on indigenous peoples in several regions in Indonesia.

    "The Court's ruling came from a lawsuit from AMAN and two other social organizations," said Mina.

    Previously, Jopi was stabbed to death in Venue bar and lounge at Kemang, South Jakarta, yesterday morning. The Metro Police stated that Jopi died at 06:00am from stab wound in the back right. From Tempo's observation, the wound penetrated to the chest. There were no other injuries such as bruises on Jopi's body.