Professor Robertus Robet, a sociology professor at the State University of Jakarta, was arrested in March 2019 for allegedly insulting the Indonesian military at a rally. He sang a song that he had sung at a rally 30 years ago. After a video of that was posted online he was arrested. He has been released, but faces a 4-year prison sentence, if convicted at trial.
H. M. Prasetyo
General Attorney Office
Attorney General Office
Jl. Sultan Hasanuddin No. 1, Kby. Baru
Jakarta Selatan, DKI Jakarta
Dear Attorney General. Prasetyo:
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world.
We write to express our concern over the treatment of Robertus Robet, a sociology professor at the State University of Jakarta, who was arrested on March 7, 2019, for allegedly “insulting” the Indonesian military at a rally.
During a protest against a decision to allow active military officers to work in government ministries, Robertus Robet sang a song that he had sung 30 years earlier during student protests against the, then, government of General Suharto. After a video of his song was posted online, Professor Robet was charged both with insulting the military and with online “defamation”. He was subsequently released, but he faces a possible 4-year prison sentence, if convicted at trial.
The act for which Robet was detained, and has been charged, constitutes peaceful free expression, a fundamental human right. Your government has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) under which you have agreed to respect freedom of expression and protect those who chose to exercise that right.
We call on you to immediately and unconditionally drop these charges against Professor Robet, and instead make clear that such peaceful expression is a right that will not be restricted or violated in Indonesia.
We thank you for your attention to this most serious matter, and we look forward to receiving your response.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
Ambassador Budi Bowoleksono
Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia
2020 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202 775 5200