AIJ Condemns Raid On Sudent Magazine Arena
* Pacific Media Watch Online: http://www.pmw.c2o.org
YOGYAKARTA: The Yogyakarta Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) condemned the violence committed against activists and the office of the university student magazine "Arena", Dema, Sena, and the Islamic Religious Endeavor Corps (Kordiska) of Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic Institute (IAIN).
Raihul Fadjri, the Chairman of AJI Yogyakarta, stated that the violence resembles other incidents against the press and that these acts are contrary to the freedom of the press. He also asserted that such violence constitutes a criminal act that requires legal action.
Raihul also predicted that the violence committed by those carrying religious banners would backfire on the perpetrator's religions. Therefore, AJI urged people to avoid actions that manipulate community groups for political purposes. AJI also urged the Rector of IAIN Sunan Kalijaga University to take action against such violence. IAIN's student senate also condemned unwanted intervention in campus affairs, particularly when involving violence and theft.
Many activists condemned the raid of the IAIN Sunan Kalijaga Student's Press Institution ARENA office on Friday, August 18 by armed groups in the name of the Islamic Protection Front of Yogyakarta (FPIY). The incident injured two students on their heads and feet. FPIY also seized a computer, videocassettes, magazines, and newspaper clippings. They also removed ARENA and SEMA nameplates. Before leaving, the attackers demanded the immediate removal of the office located near the campus mosque. If this demand was
not met, they threatened to burn the office.
According to Okta Rijaya, the Chairman of IAIN's student senate, the incident occurred after the Friday prayer. Around 100 people, wearing turbans and boots and carrying clubs, knives, swords and machetes, pounded on the office door of Arena, Sema and Kordiska. They forced the door open and raided the premises. Several students in the office were forced to admit to being "communist-affiliated" left-wing activists. Those unwilling to confess were beaten.
The students reported this incident to the Yogyakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH) on Friday night. Afterward, they met IAIN University rector at his
residence. Meanwhile, two security officers reported a growing security threat on campus. A large crowd armed with weapons had returned to the university. They demanded the closure of the ARENA office. Prior to this
incident, the student's press institution was often terrorized and several armed groups were reported to roam around the campus carrying weapons.