Indonesia disbands hardline group Hizbut Tahrir

A protester holding up a placard which reads "Regulation for mass organisations is evidence of a dictatorial regime" during a demonstration in Jakarta on Tuesday.
A protester holding up a placard which reads "Regulation for mass organisations is evidence of a dictatorial regime" during a demonstration in Jakarta on Tuesday.PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA • The Indonesian government has disbanded Muslim hardline group Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) for conducting activities that contradict the state ideology Pancasila, a set of founding national principles that promote pluralism and tolerance.

Indonesia's Law and Human Rights Ministry officially revoked HTI's status as a legal entity yesterday. The move followed the issuance of a regulation in lieu of law on mass organisations, better known by its acronym Perppu.

Perppu has sparked concerns over potential violations of the right to assemble, as it grants the government the power to disband mass groups without due process.

"With the revocation of its legal status, we declare that the HTI is disbanded, in accordance with Article 80A of the Perppu," the ministry's legal administration director-general Freddy Harris told reporters.

Although the HTI mentioned Pancasila as its ideology in its statute, facts show that its activities are not in line with Pancasila, he added.

HTI, which calls for Islamic law and wants to unify all Muslims into a caliphate, has been operating for decades in Indonesia and has tens of thousands of followers.

HTI said it would challenge the decision. "This is a true form of abuse by the government against its own citizens," said HTI spokesman Ismail Yusanto.

Legal expert Refly Harun said it was the first time in the reform era that the government had disbanded an organisation without due process of law. "The presidential decree is a blank cheque for the government to disband any group without due process of law," he added.

JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2017, with the headline 'Indonesia disbands hardline group Hizbut Tahrir'. Print Edition | Subscribe