Acquitted Misbakhun Will Go to United Nations Human Rights Council
Markus Junianto Sihaloho
Muhammad Misbakhun, the former Indonesian lawmaker last week acquitted of forgery charges by the Supreme Court, said he will report his “illegal” imprisonment to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Misbakhun was sentenced to a two-year term in 2010 for forging documents to obtain huge loans from the now defunct Bank Century, and later lost his job at the House of Representatives.
The Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) politician was released on conditional bail due to good behavior on Aug. 18 last year.
But last week the Supreme Court overturned the conviction, meaning that he should not have been imprisoned or fired from the House in the first place.
Misbakhun said he is working with prominent lawyer, former Justice Minister Yusril Ihza Mahendra, to formulate a number of legal steps, including taking the case to the UN council.
“Let the international community know that this government will do anything to silence a person who uses his constitutional rights as a member of the House of Representatives,” Misbakhun said, adding that he was punished for criticizing the government’s Rp 6 trillion ($636 million) bailout to Bank Century, which has since been taken over by the government and renamed Bank Mutiara.
Misbakhun and other lawmakers claim that the bailout benefitted the campaign of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and a number of benefactors who had deposited large amounts of money in the bank.
The former lawmaker said that presidential special staffer Andi Arief put pressure on law enforcement officials to wrongfully prosecute him.
“I have no hard feelings against anyone who criminalized me,” Misbakhun said, but he added that it will not stop him from pressing charges.
Andi said he respected the Supreme Court’s decision to acquit Misbakhun but said “it does raise a little question.”
“He can continue to pretend running Selalang Prima International [which owed money to Bank Century] or help people by admitting that he was a puppet of Robert Tantular to steal from Bank Century’s costumers,” Andi said of Misbakhun.
Andi was referring to former Bank Century co-owner Tantular, who is in prison for embezzlement.
“This is a good month. Ramadan is full of blessing,” Andi added. “[Misbakhun] should admit his crime.”