The National Police’s Cyber Crimes Division has arrested a man for hate speech after he allegedly compared a Papuan activist to a gorilla.
Ambroncius Nababan, formerly a cadre of the Hanura Party and is now the leader of a President Joko Widodo supporters’ group named Projamin, was arrested over an alleged racist Facebook post in which he placed a photo of former National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) commissioner Natalius Pigai next to a photo of a gorilla. The post was believed to be a form of retaliation against the Papua-born Pigai, who previously criticized the government’s COVID-19 mass vaccination program.
“[Ambroncius] has been placed in police custody starting Jan. 27,” National Police Cyber Crimes Division Director Slamet Uliandi said today.
Police say Ambroncius may face at least five years in prison for racist hate speech under the Information and Electronic Transactions Act, the Abolishment of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination Act, and the Criminal Code.
Prior to his arrest, Ambroncius denied accusations of racism as he said his post was satirical in nature and was reposted from someone else. That said, he apologized to Pigai publicly and expressed his hope that the matter could be settled without involving the law.
However, a youth group based in West Papua filed a formal complaint against Ambroncius, leading to his arrest. Pigai himself said he wouldn’t press charges against Ambroncius.