REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA -- Criminal law observer from Trisakti University, Abdul Fickar Hadjar said the sentence to flag burners and bearer was fair enough. It was based on Article 174 of the Criminal Code with maximum sentence of three weeks or 21 days.
"So 10 days is fair enough," he told Republika.co.id on Tuesday (Nov 6).
Fickar explained that the sentence imposed to the defendants was related to the act of disturbing general assembly, not about burning the flag. It was in line with police investigation result which considers no element of violation on the burning of the flag.
The flag burning incident did not mentioned in the prosecutor's indictment. "Burning the flag is not considered by the prosecutor because the investigators did not see any violation in it," Fickar said.
Nevertheless, Fickar said the most important thing in the case was lesson learnt from the process and punishment against the incident. It was a valuable lesson for everyone.
Those who committed negativity, such as disturbing general assembly, including burning a flag, would face the law. "Not only physical punishment, but also social sanction which may harm everyone politically," Fickar remarked.
Thousands of people staging a rally on Defend Tawheed 211 thronged the road around the National Monument (Monas) horse statue towards Jalan Medan Merdeka Barat, Jakarta, Friday (Nov 2).
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Nahdlatul Ulama (PBNU) Marsudi Syuhud respected differences of opinion regarding the verdict. He said it was the people's right to accept or deny the sentence.
However, Marsudi argued the verdict was in accordance with applicable laws in Indonesia. He agreed with the article imposed to the case which was related to disturbing general assembly.
"I think its only about causing an uproar," he said.
According to Marsudi, if the flag burning incident was processed as blasphemy then it would lead to endless dispute. Moreover, Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) as disbanded organization claimed to not own the flag as the flag carried by its supporters was Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)'s flag at wars.
"Indonesia is not a country at war, so it is debateable and has no end," he reiterated.
Marsudi called on all parties to respect the law. The law has been upholded and the three defendants have been punished. "So, what else?" he said.
The black flag bearing the Arabic writing of "Tawheed" was burned by several members of the Nahdlatul Ulama's Barisan Ansor Serba Guna (Banser) youth wing at a commemorative event of this year's National Santri Day in Garut, West Java Province, on Oct 22. Those committing the act were quoted by local media as saying that the flag that they had burned was that of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), an Islamic organization that the government had banned.
The police probed the flag-burning incident, which was deplored and condemned by various Islamic clerics arguing that the flag bearing the basic creed of Islam was commonly used by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). For billions of Muslims around the world, Tawheed is accepted as an absolute monotheism and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the messenger of Allah (Almighty God).
Thus, it holds an important position that differentiates Muslims from those not embracing Islam. Hence, the burning of the flag cannot then be accepted by so many Muslim community members in the country, as the Tawheed written on the flag belongs to all Muslims.