Punish Groups Using Children in Violent Islamist Raids, KPAI Says
The Indonesian Commission for Child Protection is urging the police to punish organizations that involve children and minors in their violent actions.
“These children are being used and therefore those who manipulate them should be severely punished,” Maria Ulfa Ansor, chairwoman of the commission known as KPAI, said on Tuesday.
She referred to the involvement of children in violent raids against private businesses, saying that involving the children in those activities was criminal.
“These sweeps are crimes, and I am convinced that the children themselves have no understanding of what they were doing, but those who mobilized them should be punished,” Maria said.
Police recently arrested 62 members of a hard-line Islamic organization, the Council of the Defenders of the Prophet, after they held a violent raid on Saturday on a cafe that had remained open during the Muslim fasting month. Those arrested included 41 children and minors. Only 21 were adults.
The teenagers were released without charge except for two minors who were directly involved in ransacking the bar and found carrying sharp weapons. These two could face up to six years in prison under the 1951 Emergency Law for carrying weapons and two and a half years for destroying private property.
The mob demanded that the business close for the entire fasting month. Some of them came with blades and blunt weapons, and they vandalized the venue and also set bottles of alcoholic beverages on fire.
“We have to provide guidance for these children so that they do not again join organizations that engage in violence,” Maria said