Environmental activist Heri Budiawan, known as Budi Pego, was released from prison on 1 July 2018. Sentenced to 10 months behind bars for “crimes against the state security” on 24 January 2018, his case was the first conviction under the article of banning communism ideology since the downfall of Soeharto in 1998.
Heri Budiawan was released from prison on 1 July 2018 after serving ten months in detention. His case remains under appeal in the Indonesian Supreme Court, however there is no indication about when the next hearing will take place. Heri Budiawan believes that the lower court’s decision will be overturned due to lack of evidence.
Heri Budiawan has been very vocal in protesting a gold mining activity in Tumpang Pitu and Salakan mountains, East Java, Indonesia, and was sentenced to ten months imprisonment for “openly promoting pro-communism ideology by displaying hammer and sickle symbol on a banner during a protest in 2017”. This was the first-time anti-communist article has been used to restrain peaceful protest in Indonesia after Soeharto stepped down in 1998.
Heri Budiawan’s family are relieved with his release and remain hopeful that the Supreme Court will overturn the guilty verdict and clearing his criminal record. Since the original decision was made by the Banyuwangi District Court, the area in which Heri Budiawan lives, his daughter has been mocked by friends for having a “troublemaker father who adhered to Communist values”. The rehabilitation of the family name is therefore of great significance within his community.
Heri Budiawan has thanked everyone’s enthusiasm in supporting his case.
Many thanks to all who sent appeals. Amnesty International will continue monitoring developments in his case, however no further action is requested from the UA network.