Indonesia: four land defenders interrogated, arrestedEvent
- Initial Date
- Oct 5, 2022
- Event Description
Farmers in Malin Deman District, Mukomuko Regency, Bengkulu Province have experienced another arrest and suspicion of criminalization. As many as 5 farmers in the district were criminalized, on charges of theft of palm fruit by PT Daria Darma Pratama (DDP).
On October 5, 2022, Hamdi and three workers harvesting oil palm from the land he was cultivating, were summoned by the Mukomuko Police to be questioned in an alleged case of theft of palm fruit. This summons is based on Police Report Number: LP/B/556/IX/2022/SPKT/Polres Mukomuko/Polda Bengkulu, dated 20 September 2022.
At around 14.30 WIB the three harvest workers appeared before the investigator Aiptu Madyana in the Mukomuko Police Headquarters room and were immediately questioned as witnesses. Then at 16.15 WIB the Criminal Investigation Unit asked Hamdi to enter the investigator's room to be questioned as a witness on PT DDP's report.
A few hours later, at around 20.30 WIB, Hamdi, Randa Fernando, Muhtar and Dosi Saputra finished being questioned by investigators and were asked to wait outside the room because a case was immediately being held.
At around 22.30 WIB, the investigators summoned the four of them back into the room, this time along with their attorney, and in the room it was announced that the four of them had been named suspects. The lawyer for the farmers, Saman Lating, questioned the basis for naming the suspect against his client, as well as PT DDP's legal standing as a reporter to Madyana, but these questions received no answer.
"I see that investigators have hidden something from the determination of our client as a suspect, because investigators cannot explain the basis for determining the suspect and the legal standing of PT DDP as the reporter, because the land that was harvested belonged to Hamdi's brother who was cultivated from around 1989, before the existence of PT BBS. especially PT DDP," explained Saman Lating, in his written statement to Betahita.
Apart from arresting farmers and farm workers, six days earlier, the police also arrested Rahmad Sidi, another farmer from Talang Baru Village, on the same charge of stealing PT DDP's palm fruit. The determination of the suspect without clear reasons then prompted dozens of Malin Deman residents to come to the Mukomuko Police.
Chronology of Land Conflicts
Back in 1986, before the existence of PT Bina Bumi Sejahtera (BBS) HGU, the land that became the object of conflict was the customary territory of Malin Deman District. This is evidenced by land tenure by local indigenous peoples. The people use the land to grow rice, coffee and jengkol in Talang Arah Village, Malin Deman District.
One of the indigenous people who manages the area is Darmin (65). In 1991-1992 PT BBS started measuring the land and began unilaterally evictions, because the farmers who worked the land did not want to sell the land that they had managed for generations.
On August 1, 1995, the North Bengkulu Regency National Land Agency (BPN) issued an HGU certificate for PT BBS, with Number 34 with an area of 1,889 hectares, with the commodity type cocoa/chocolate. Certificates are issued based on the Decree of the Minister of Land Number: 42/HGU/BPN/95. dated June 12, 1995.
The planting process is carried out by PT BBS. Approximately 350 hectares are planted with cocoa/cacao and 14 hectares are planted with hybrid coconut. However, since 1997 PT BBS has stopped managing its HGU land. The cessation of PT BBS's activities has forced the community to work on abandoned land by planting oil palm, rubber, jengkol, durian and other plants.
In 2005-2012 PT DDP conveyed verbally to the community working on the ex-PT BBS land, that the company had purchased the ex-PT BBS land. At that time 24 farmers were forced to accept compensation. The PT DDP company then cleared the land cultivated by the farmers and planted oil palm -- different from PT BBS's HGU commodity.
In 2012, farmers who did not want to receive compensation from PT DDP had their land forcibly evicted. A number of farmers, namely Ali Martopo (40), Abdullah (43), Sendri (29) and Darmin (65) experienced intimidation during the process of confiscating their cultivated land.
The intimidation received from the police was also experienced by other farmers who until now have managed to control the land. The farmers have tried to write to the Mukomuko Regency DPRD and the MukoMuko Regency DPRD has followed up by summoning PT DDP, the Mukomuko Regency Plantation Office, and the Mukomuko Regency BPN.
The chairman of the Mukomuko district legislature, Arnadi Pelam, stated in a hearing that PT DDP's control over the ex-BBS land was illegal, so PT DDP was asked to stop all its activities on the status quo land.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- (Arbitrary) Arrest and Detention
- Judicial Harassment
- Rights Concerned
- Land rights
- Right to liberty and security
- Land rights defender
- Agricultural business
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 5 October 2022, four land rights defender were summoned for interrogation by the police and later arrested following a theft complaint filed by palm fruit company PT Daria Darma Pratama (DDP) in Mukomuko , Indonesia.