Reporting Greenpeace to police shows KPK has become authoritarian, says watchdog

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Greenpeace protest
The Greenpeace activists’ "anti-corruption" laser painting on the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) building in Jakarta on June 28, 2021. Image: Antara/Lihat

By Irfan Kamil in Jakarta

Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) has condemned the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) under the leadership of Firli Bahuri as an “authoritarian and anti-criticism” institution over the Greenpeace laser protest.

ICW researcher Kurnia Ramadhana said this after the KPK had reported Greenpeace Indonesia to the South Jakarta district police (Polres) for laser painting the KPK’s red and white building on June 28.

“The report against a civil society organisation with the South Jakarta district police by the KPK will become a historical note that the KPK under the command of Firli Bahuri has truly changed into an authoritarian institution which is anti-criticism,” Ramadhana told Kompas.com.

Also, according to ICW the KPK’s move to report Greenpeace to police further demonstrated the KPK’s inability to cover up the scandal surrounding the civics or nationalism test (TWK) for KPK employees.

At the very least, said Ramadhana, there were three things that must be looked at in response to the KPK’s report to the South Jakarta district police.

‘Democratic’ system
First, Indonesia practises a democratic system which is embodied under Article 28 E Paragraph (3) of the 1945 Constitution which reads: “All persons have the right to freedom of expression, association and opinion”.

“So, this report can be seen as an effort to curb democracy,” said Ramadhana.

Second, Article 20 of the KPK Law states that the anti-corruption agency is accountable to the public.

So from this, according to Ramadhana, the laser painting action should be viewed as a response by the public to the problems within the KPK which should be responded to, not instead reported to the police.

Third, the person who made the report — who is strongly suspected to be a KPK employee — has violated the code of ethics, namely Article 7 Paragraph (2) d of KPK Supervisory Board Regulation Number 2/2020.

Meanwhile, it is stated that the Supervisory Boards, “In its implementation of the basic values of professionalism, all Commission members are prohibited from: responding to criticism and suggestions in a negative and excessive manner”.

“Because of this, the Supervisory Board must take immediate action in response to this report,” said Ramadhana.

Police report filed by KPK
Earlier, KPK acting spokesperson Ali Fikri admitted that the police report over the laser painting was submitted by the KPK’s general bureau.

“Correct, the KPK through the general bureau has carried out coordination and made a report with the South Jakarta Polres,” said Fikri in a written release.

“It was in relation to the laser painting incident on the KPK building on June 28, 2021, at around 7.05 pm by an external party,” he said.

The KPK believes that the laser painting had the potential to intentionally disturb the operational order and comfort of the KPK offices. Moreover, the KPK’s red and white building is a vital object.

“We believe that they intentionally disrupted the operational order and comfort of the KPK offices as a vital national object,” said Fikri.

Fikri revealed that KPK security personnel and the South Jakarta district police who were on guard at the time had prohibited and warned the external party not to carry out the action.

The party which carried out the laser painting, however, continued with the action, even changing location.

No police permit
Also, according to Fikri, the action was carried out outside of the times set for protest actions and did not have a permit from police.

Because of this, the KPK is leaving entirely up to the South Jakarta district police to follow up on the report.

“So now, we are leaving it entirely up to the South Jakarta Polres to follow up on it,” said Fikri. “We hope that all parties will always maintain order and comfort at the KPK offices.”

The laser painting action occurred on the evening of Monday, June 28, when protesters used a laser to write messages, one of which was “Brave, Honest, Sacked”. There was also a message which read: “Motion of No Confidence”, and “Save the KPK”.

The messages were part of an action by Greenpeace Indonesia in response to issues related to corruption eradication ranging from the sacking of 51 KPK employees for failing to pass the TWK to efforts to weaken the KPK.

Translated by James Balowski for IndoLeft News. The original title of the article was “Tindakan KPK Laporkan Aksi Tembakan Laser Dinilai Otoriter dan Anti-kritik”.

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