Four women in Central Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara were detained for allegedly vandalizing a tobacco factory in their village, in what was reportedly an act of protest against the manufacturing unit for polluting the area and refusing to hire local residents.
The case has since captured national attention, as two of the women were held in custody with their toddlers, who reportedly still had to breastfeed.
“In law, there are still humanist aspects worth considering, especially because these women are still needed by their children. It’s very illogical that they are breastfeeding in jail,” Ahmad Sahroni, a member of the House of Representatives (DPR), said yesterday.
“Especially because these women are simply fighting for their rights to breathe clean air. It’s very wrong that such an act ends up putting them in prison.”
Other officials, including NTB Governor Zulkieflimansyah, have also responded to the controversy. Following a visit to Praya Prison yesterday, Zulkieflimansyah took to Instagram this afternoon to announce that the women’s suspension of detention is being processed.
The women, identified by their initials NH, M, F, and H, were charged with vandalism, which carries a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.
According to reports, the women protested the tobacco factory by throwing rocks at it last December, alleging the facility is polluting their environment and choking children living in the area. They also claimed that the factory owners never bothered to listen to their complaints, and did not hire local residents to work there.
Factory owner Suhardi told local news outlet Viva yesterday that he intends to withdraw his complaint against the women, which he claimed was initially meant to deter the group from damaging his property.
“I will also move the manufacturing process, it won’t be here anymore. So it will just be a storage unit for manufactured tobacco products, so that there won’t be any more conflict,” Suhardi said.
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