abusesaffiliationarrow-downarrow-leftarrow-rightarrow-upattack-typeburgerchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-upClock iconclosedeletedevelopment-povertydiscriminationdollardownloademailenvironmentexternal-linkfacebookfiltergenderglobegroupshealthC4067174-3DD9-4B9E-AD64-284FDAAE6338@1xinformation-outlineinformationinstagraminvestment-trade-globalisationissueslabourlanguagesShapeCombined Shapeline, chart, up, arrow, graphLinkedInlocationmap-pinminusnewsorganisationotheroverviewpluspreviewArtboard 185profilerefreshIconnewssearchsecurityPathStock downStock steadyStock uptagticktooltiptwitteruniversalityweb

21 Jun 2018

Hans Nicholas Jong, Mongabay

Indonesia: Human rights commission investigates death of journalist detained for defamation of palm oil company

"Indonesia to investigate death of journalist being held for defaming palm oil company," 21 June 2018

Indonesia’s national commission on human rights has vowed to investigate the death of a journalist who was being held on charges of defaming a palm oil company owned by a powerful tycoon.

...Muhammad Yusuf wrote at least 23 articles for the news portals Kemajuan Rakyat and Berantas News about a land conflict involving PT Multi Sarana Agro Mandiri (MSAM). The company holds the rights to develop a massive oil palm plantation...It is owned by...Andi Syamsudin Arsyad, popularly known as Haji Isam.

... local farmers...accuse the company of bulldozing their crops to make way for its plantation. Yusuf covered this dispute. After MSAM reported him to the police, he was arrested on charges of hate speech and defamation, for which he faced up to six years in prison and a 1 billion rupiah ($72,000) fine if convicted.

Yusuf spent more than five weeks in police detention, before he was transferred to the custody of the Kotabaru district attorney’s office in early May to await trial, which began two weeks later, according to local media.

On the morning of June 10, Yusuf was taken to a local hospital after complaining of breathing difficulties and chest pain.

He died 30 minutes after arriving at the hospital...

...Sawit Watch’s Eep points out that Yusuf was arrested at the airport in Banjarmasin...as he was about to accompany a delegation of villagers to Jakarta to report the land conflict to the country’s human rights commission, Komnas HAM.

Handwritten notes obtained by Tempo.co and believed to have been made during the autopsy cite extensive bruising on Yusuf’s body, including on the back of his neck, his shoulders, back and thighs. Police have denied that the autopsy found any signs of violence on the body.