The Tangerang Vandalism Case: The Court Decides Guilt Despite Torture and Inappropriate Application of Articles

An update on the anti-authoritarian prisoners from Tangerang. They were declared guilty despite anomalies in police and legal procedure and torture used against the defendants. An update to “Update on Anti-Authoritarian Prisoners Involved in Vandalism” We are reproducing this here to signal boost this news to the international community.

Submitted by Bandilang Itim on October 13, 2020

A report from the Federasi Anti-Otoritarian.


On September 28, 2020, the Tangerang District Court (Pengadilan Negeri) judges read out the verdict of the the anti-authoritarians accused of vandalism. The judges sentenced Muhammad Riski Riyanto Bin Abdul Syukur (age 21) and Rio Imanuel Adolof Pattinama (aka Petrus Adolof Pattinama; age 23) to prison for 10 months in case No: 1136/Pid.Sus/2020/PN Tng. They were declared to have spread false news and to have deliberately spread disturbances among the people as regulated in Article 14 Paragraph (1) of Law Number 1, Year 1946, concerning Criminal Law Regulation.

Meanwhile, Rizki Julianda (aka RJ aka Zonee; age 19) was tried separately in case No: 1135/Pid.Sus/2020/ PN Tng and was sentenced to imprisonment for 8 months. He was declared to have committed incitement to commit a criminal act and incitement to commit violence against public authority or to have not obeyed either the provisions of the law or a position order given based on the provisions of the law as regulated in Article 160 of the Criminal Code (KUHP).

Last April 9, 2020, Rio Imanuel Adolof Pattinama and Muhammad Riski Riyanto Bin Abdul Syukur were arrested by the police for drawing graffiti using spray paint at several locations around Anyer Market, Tangerang. They did this as a form of protest against the disastrous policies of the state during the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, Rizki Julianda, was arrested in Bekasi because the police deemed him to be a member of an anarcho-syndicalist group that would create chaos.

The defense attorneys of the anti-authoritarians on trial considered the decision as a dangerous precedent. The attorneys said that the judges issued a decision without considering the torture committed against the defendants and the procedural violations committed by the police. One of the defendants’ attorney, Shaleh Al Gifari, went on to say that the trial should have been deemed flawed.

“The judges ignored the fact that there had been torture [used] against the defendants, violations of procedural law, and violations of the rights of the defendant. So that the series of investigations, prosecutions and examinations at trial should be deemed flawed because they used evidence obtained from torture—fruit of poisonous tree,” Gifari said.

Attorney Gifari also stated that the judges applied inappropriate legal articles to the defendants’ case.

“The criminal verdict against Muhammad Riski Riyanto and Rio Imanuel Adolof Pattinama is clearly inappropriate for the judges to use Article 14 Paragraph (1) of Law Number 1 Year 1946 because based on the facts revealed in court, they should only be subject to administrative sanctions in the form of an oral/written warning by the local government is deemed to have violated public order as regulated in Article 7 of the Tangerang City Regional Regulation Number 6 of 2011 concerning Public Order. In addition, the writings or messages conveyed by both are legitimate criticism and are part of the response of citizens to the country's failure to protect all Indonesian people in this pandemic situation, so that it cannot be said to be fake news, especially deliberately publishing chaos among the people,” Gifar added.

Meanwhile in Rizki Julianda case, the judges should have released him because all the articles accused him were clearly not proven in court.

“The judges decided to use Article 160 of the Criminal Code against Rizki Julianda. This article is a material offense as decided by the Constitutional Court through the Decision of the Constitutional Court Number 7/PUU-VII/2009 dated July 22, 2009 and explained by the expert presented by the defendant's legal counsel at the trial. Material offense means that the perpetrator can only be convicted if the prohibited consequences arise. However, the judge interpreted that the defendant's act of creating a telegram group eventually resulted in a graffiti incident in Tangerang. This is clearly a very broad interpretation and is not based on the facts of the trial, that the graffiti were spontaneous actions by the defendants Muhammad Riski Riyanto and Rio Imanuel Adolof Pattinama for their restlessness over the handling of the corona pandemic by the Government,” Gifar said.

Attorney Gifar also criticized the judge's decision regarding the evidence confiscated where it was decided that following items be seized and destroyed: 1 (one) 15.6 inch monitor, 1 (one) keyboard, 1 (one) mouse, 1 (one) unit of printer, 1 (one) unit of CPU, 3 (three) units of mobile phones as well as several books and novels. The books seized should have been returned to their owners because they were not directly related to the criminal acts deemed committed by the defendants. The destruction of books and novels sets a bad precedent for the tradition of freedom of thought and expression.