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Legal Activists Want Charges Dropped Against Ahmadi Nearly Killed by Mob
Ulma Haryanto | May 23, 2011
The house in Cikeusik, Banten, where a mob attacked an Ahmadiyah community in February. Three Ahmadiyah members were killed in the attack. (Antara Photo)
A coalition of civil society organizations have demanded that prosecutors drop charges against an Ahmadi man who was critically injured in the deadly February attack on members of the beleaguered sect in Cikeusik, Banten.
Deden Sujana, head of security for the Indonesian Ahmadiyah Congregation (JAI), was detained on Friday at a prison in Serang for allegedly inciting violence and disobeying authorities in connection with the Feb. 6 attack, Erna Ratnaningsih, chairwoman of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI), said on Sunday.
In that attack, three Ahmadis were killed by a mob of 1,500. Deden nearly lost his right arm defending himself from a machete-wielding assailant.
Deden is allegedly seen in a video circulating on the Internet of the attack asking a police officer to let the assault take place.
Police had said in the immediate wake of the attack that no Ahmadis were being considered as suspects in the case.
Erna said that Deden’s arrest was baseless since he had always been cooperative in answering police summonses.
“Besides, if they want to have him detained, the prosecutors should have sufficient reason that Deden would tamper with evidence or try to escape, which is not the case,” she added.
Erna said he could face trial in approximately two weeks, but vowed that when that happened, he would be represented by a team of attorneys from the YLBHI, the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH), the Human Rights Watch Group and the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras).
“Deden is one of the victims,” Erna said. “His physical condition, and especially psychological condition, was not taken into consideration when the prosecutors decided to detain him.”
Twelve men linked to the mob that attacked the group of 25 Ahmadis are on trial at the Serang District Court.
If found guilty, they could receive punishment ranging from 12 years in prison to death by firing squad.
But Erna on Sunday pointed to what she claimed was a disturbing precedent set in previous trials involving attacks on Ahmadis.
“From previous cases, the attackers received the minimum sentence while the victims received longer sentences. This happened during the Cisalada hearing,” she said.
In that case, an Ahmadi man was sentenced to nine months in jail for stabbing a teenager who was part of a mob of hard-line Muslims who attacked an Ahmadiyah community in Cisalada, Bogor, in October. The attackers were given a year’s probation.