What are some unspoken rules in Indonesia

Indonesian Consul General is committed to "shock therapy"

In the process before the Administrative Court (PTUN) in Jakarta, the recently replaced Indonesian Consul General in Berlin, Indra Damanik, testified last week that he wanted to raise the student Iwan Setiabudi, who lives in Berlin, to be a “good citizen” by means of “shock therapy”.

Instead of routinely extending his passport for five years, the Indonesian Consulate General granted Iwan Setiabudi a one-year extension last year. The processing time, which usually only took a few days, was extended to a full four months in this case. So Iwan Setiabudi had to apply for an extension after just eight months, for which the full processing fee had to be paid. Iwan Setiabudi sees this as an act of arbitrariness by the authorities in order to punish him for his political activities and has filed a complaint with the competent administrative court in Jakarta.

Damanik has now confirmed Iwan Setiabudi's assumption: "The passport extension by only one year was a disciplinary measure and also to make him aware not to disdain our own people in the hope that the person concerned would behave according to the rules again," explained Damanik emphatically.

Damanik went on to say that he himself had even recommended that Iwan no longer issue a passport at all because of his "anti-Indonesian activities". But out of consideration for Ivan's studies, the responsible foreign ministry in Jakarta decided to grant him a year extension. Damanik admitted that there is no basis for such an approach in the applicable legal provisions, but that this is decided in individual cases. Damanik also confirmed that, contrary to normal practice, Iwan Setiabudi had submitted a questionnaire in which he was supposed to provide information about his political activities.

As an activist with the Indonesian Students' Association in Germany (PPI), Iwan Setiabudi drew the wrath of the consulate general when he presented himself as an exonerating witness in the case against the persecuted dissident Dr. Sri-Bintang Pamungkas had made available. The Berlin Consulate General was instrumental in the indictment against Sri-Bintang, who was accused of having insulted Indonesian President Suharto during a speech at the TU Berlin. Sri-Bintang Pamungkas was sentenced to 34 months in prison on this charge. The Consulate General in Berlin had previously prepared four witnesses for their assignment in Jakarta, along with the manipulated tape recordings of Sri Bintang's speech used in the court.

Damanik Iwan's participation in a demonstration in front of the Berlin Consulate General about the Watch Indonesia! on the occasion of the events of July 27, 1996 in Jakarta and the subsequent shooting order against demonstrators, as well as Ivan's role as co-signer of an appeal by the PPI to boycott the 1997 parliamentary elections due to a lack of democratic conditions. The shock therapy imposed on Iwan Setiabudi is not an isolated case. Among the Indonesians living abroad, the withdrawal of their passport - which is tantamount to cold expatriation - is a well-known means of pressure used by the embassies and consulates on unadjusted or disliked Indonesian citizens. All Indonesians living here are aware of examples of people who can no longer return home because their passports have been revoked. And everyone understands the unspoken warning if someone gets their passport extended by one year or even three months instead of the usual 5 years.

The system of intimidation works very well - most Indonesians abroad are more afraid to express their opinions freely than in Indonesia itself. Because the risk of having to live in exile is worse for most than the risk of perhaps going back home To come to prison. <>