Human rights organization Yayasan Satu Keadilan (YSK) has filed a citizen lawsuit against the Depok administration in West Java and the central government over the sealing of an Ahmadiyah mosque.
The group filed the lawsuit with the Central Jakarta District Court, accusing the Depok mayor, the head of the Depok Public Order Agency (Satpol PP), the President, the religious affairs minister, the home minister and the Attorney General of denying the rights of Ahmadiyah followers.
Foundation chairman Sugeng Teguh Santoso said the Ahmadis had long experienced discrimination but were afraid to speak out against it. Therefore, they needed another group to defend them, he added.
A citizen lawsuit would allow YSK to sue the government as a private citizen over its failure to protect the Ahmadis. The Ahmadis have the option of filing a class action lawsuit, but they chose not to out of fear of further persecution.
“JAI members are anxious and the discrimination [they have faced] has made them afraid to resist authorities,” Sugeng told reporters in Jakarta on Wednesday.
Several chapters of the Legal Aid Institute’s (LBH Masyarakat) will assist YSK with the case.
Legal Aid Center for the Press (LBH Pers) research and network development head Asep Komarudin said the lawsuit had been filed at the Central Jakarta Court because the Depok authorities were not the only defendants.
“We also want to sue the home minister and the religious affairs minister because we think the joint ministerial decree [SKB] on the construction of houses of worships is the root of the discrimination,” he told The Jakarta Post. “We want the two ministers to review the SKB.”
A study published on Monday by human rights watchdog Setara Institute revealed that Ahmadis have faced various acts of discrimination, including being prohibited from praying at their own mosques and owning electronic identity cards (e-ID)
The study, was conducted from May 2016 to March 2017 and surveyed Ahmadis living across five West Java regions, namely Kuningan, Tasikmalaya, Sukabumi, Bogor and Depok.
Results showed that about 60 percent of respondents still felt they were discriminated against with regards to worshiping activities and access to public services.
According to Setara research coordinator Aminudin Syarif respondents said they experienced discrimination when registering their marriage and applying for a local identity card.
He cited that in Kuningan, the population and civil registration office (Disdukcapil) even refused to provide services for members of the Ahmadiyah Indonesia Congregation (JAI). The study also showed that about 71.88 percent of respondents living in Depok said they had no place to pray in their residential areas.