Unannounced visits to offices of LBH APIK
Lawyers for Lawyers and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada have called on the Indonesian authorities to conduct a professional and independent investigation into the conduct of the people, including the 4 police officers, who made unannounced visits without a search warrant to the offices of LBH APIK in East Jakarta in February 2020 and threatened LBH APIK’s staff.
LBH APIK is one of a few leading organizations in Indonesia that focus on women’s rights, campaigning for the elimination of violence against women and children, and supporting victims of sexual violence across Indonesia. It has an accreditation as legal aid institution from the Ministry of Law and Human Rights.
On 3 February 2020, dozens of people forcefully entered the LBH APIK offices in East Jakarta, searched the offices, and threatened to damage the same. Four people claimed to be members of Sector Police of Matraman, although neither of them wore uniforms nor brought a search warrant. The police officers also let thugs enter the offices’ front yard, causing psychological distress to LBH APIK’s staff.LBH APIK currently has sixteen offices, including an office in East Jakarta.
Police officers brought another visit to LBH APIK’s offices in East Jakarta on 12 February 2020. At this occasion, again no prior notice was given or search warrant was presented.
Finally, members of the Sector Police of Matraman and a member of the Municipal Police of East Jakarta visited LBH Apik’s offices in East Jakarta on 21 February 2020, two days after LBH APIK had convened a press conference about the earlier visits on 3 and 12 February 2020. This visit was meant to be on a friendly basis (silaturahmi), but again no prior notice was given.
There is reason to believe that the visits were related to a case being handled by LBH APIK. During the visits, a police officer accused LBH APIK’s staff of abducting and hiding a client, who shortly before had asked the organization for help in connection with a domestic violence case.
This recent case is but one of many where lawyers and human rights activists, including those who work at one of LBH APIK’s sixteen offices, are intimidated, hindered and harassed, varying from social media bullying and terrorizing phone calls to physical attacks and threats of being cursed, all in connection with their performance in good faith of professional duties.
By letter, Lawyers for Lawyers and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada have called on the Indonesian authorities to conduct a professional and independent investigation into the conduct of the people, including the 4 police officers, who made unannounced visits without a search warrant to the offices of LBH APIK in East Jakarta in February 2020 and threatened LBH APIK’s staff.
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