South-East Sulawesi: Students on Hunger Strike to Release Jailed Activists

Dozens of students have gone on “hunger strike” in front of Bau-Bau District Court since Monday of last week (20/9) to demand the release of their 17 comrades.

They were arrested on July this year after organising a protest with the local residents of Talaga Raya to demand compensation for their land that has been grabbed by a nickel mining company PT. Arga Morini Indah.

One of the hunger striker, Hasan, was hospitalized  (26 /7) as his physical condition critically deteriorated.

“Now, he is getting intensive care in the hospital because his physical condition dropped,” said the spokeperson, Ari Proletariat, to Berdikari Online. Nevertheless, dozens of other students continued the hunger strike and hope that the court will immediately respond positively to their demands.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Court of Bau-Bau, Mega Boeana said, “We do not feel disturbed by the strike. The public is allowed to express their aspirations as far as it does not disturb public order. ”

The 17 activists of Talaga Raya are still undergoing legal process and charged with hindering mining activity and provoking destructive acts.

However, they maintained that the accusation was completely false and that they are just demanding compensation for local residents whose land had been appropriated unilaterally by the company.

The activists accused the law enforcement institutions, such as the Police, the Prosecutor, and the Courts, of no longer taking a neutral stance in the case.

They found irregularities and attempts to frame them during the preparation of their case.

There had even been several closed-door meeting between the police, prosecutor, and the court before the trial began.

Activists who are still in jail are Agus Pranata from People’s Democratic Party (PRD), Thamrin from Indonesian Poor Union (SRMI), Dedy Feriyanto from National Students’ League for Democracy (LMND), Apriluddin (LMND), Aludiman (LMND), Rifai Aprilian (LMND), M Alinsan (LMND), Sarifuddin (LMND), and some citizens of Talaga Raya. (Ulfa/Transl: Risma)

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