Indonesian Deputy Minister of Law and Human Rights, Prof. Dr. Edward Omar Sharif, SH, M.Hum., said law enforcement during health emergencies should refer to the lightest punishment categorized in crime severity level. However, crimes committed during a pandemic were considered very detrimental. Thus, the perpetrators should be punished as severely as possible.
“Two former ministers were detained through KPK’s sting operation at the end of 2020. For me, following the corruption they committed, they deserve to be prosecuted under the death penalty article. As they committed crimes in an emergency period and did so while holding public office, these become the compelling reasons for them to deserve the punishment,” said Edi Hiariej at the National Seminar on Critical Review of the Direction of Formation and Law Enforcement During the Pandemic organized by the Faculty of Law UGM, Tuesday (16/2).
Regarding the application of legal policies during the pandemic, said Edi, he believed that it was best to look for violations that were considered the least likely to cause harm. It included the policy of housing prisoners during assimilation and accelerated parole due to overpopulation in prisons. “Almost twice as many prisoners are still outside their prison cells, and 32 thousand are still in the custody of the police, prosecutors, and the KPK,” he said.
According to him, the policy of housing prisoners during assimilation was indeed still risky. There had been repeated crimes by former inmates who had not completed the assimilation process. There was also a policy of trial period acceleration for the defendants approaching the end of their detention. “Until June 2021, I think law enforcement in the cases handled and running will be no different from 2020. Virtual investigations and trials will still be in place,” he said.
General Chairperson of YLBHI (Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation) Asfinawati, S.H criticized the law enforcement process for health protocol violators detained by the police. “There were several people arrested for not obeying PSBB’s appeal (Large-Scale Social Restriction Policies) when the Ministry of Health had yet to issue permission at that time,” she said.
She also criticized law enforcement discrimination against hate speech offenders. YLBHI supported law enforcement for perpetrators of hate speech related to nationality, religion, and race. However, in practice, defamation was also included in the hate speech category. “Hate speech is different from insult and defamation of character,” she said.
According to her, the government should not be allergic to public criticism because it was part of the principles of democracy. “Democracy continues even after people exercising their right to vote from the voting booth. They have the right to criticize the government,” she concluded.
Author: Gusti Grehenson