Sunday, 15 June 2008

Joint Decree on Ahmadiyya

He asked me about the legal status of a ‘Joint Decree’ and whether individuals could have penalties imposed against them. What was the reaction of The Jakarta Post?.
wa alaikum asalaam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu!
I am not sure how Indonesian law works. This seems to be somewhat analogous to a regulation in English law where the legislation is made by ministers – I think that the primary legislation enabling them to do so is referred to in the preamble. During Soeharto's kleptocracy the Majlis[1] made various enabling laws to allow him and his ministers to effectively rule by decree and these have continued in force. The Hesitant President doesn't want to take the blame for anything himself and has asked the ministers to do so. The three main players are also part of this weird ‘Coordinating Board for Monitoring and Supervising Mystic Beliefs’ (PAKEM) that was set up in Soeharto's time.
The decree allows the courts to both impose penalties against individuals and the Jama'at[2] as a body.
The Jakarta Post has, in its editorials, been pretty consistent in opposing the decree. There has been no analysis of its provisions as far as I can see which is why I submitted my contribution (which I have also sent to the Jama’at in Indonesia and in UK to use how they want). We have yet to see how and if they use it. The Jama'at has been given leave to apply for judicial review (presumably to the Constitutional Court) against the decree.
Of course the decree falls at the first hurdle in that it does ‘diminish’ religious freedom which the Constitution disallows under any circumstances.
Perhaps you, together with other lawyers, can make representations through various channels on the legal issues. Although I am not a lawyer, it is plain for even me to see that it is the most badly drafted piece of tripe imaginable.
wasalaam
Rafiq