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Issue #1746      August 31, 2016


Communism ban to stay

Indonesia’s current criminal code can send individuals to prison for “communist activities” for up to seven years. Indonesia maintained its ban on communism in its revision of the country’s criminal code system – controversial laws that have been in place for more than five decades.

The government originally proposed the continued ban and the members of Indonesia’s House of Representatives Commission III agreed with the move. Articles contained in the criminal code say that a person promoting communism can be sent to prison for up to seven years.

A person using communism as an organisational ideology or anyone trying to oust Indonesia’s Pancasila ideology can spend ten years in prison.

Pancasila is Indonesia’s national philosophy, founded in 1945, but used as a repressive tool by Suharto, who was installed as president after a US backed-coup against the progressive government of Sukarno in 1965.

Suharto carried out a nationwide purge of communism commonly referred to as the Indonesian Genocide. Deaths are estimated to be between half a million to one million people, with reports of rivers running red with blood. The Indonesian Communist Party – then the third largest in the world – was systematically destroyed.

The US, the UK, Australia and other Western powers supported the country’s anti-communist operations militarily, financially and with propaganda against the Communist Party.

Critics have said that Indonesia’s reluctance to lift the ban will mean continued crackdowns on cultural events, research and anything else related to communist ideology.

“Indonesia is the only country in the world that prosecutes its people for their ideologies,” said Supriyadi Widodo Eddyono, director of the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform to the Jakarta Post.

Eddyono was also warned that new provisions the government says are designed to protect the academic study of social ideology, could actually be used by the state to prosecute individuals.


Next article – Katrina Pain Index 2016

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