Supreme Court rejects extremist group’s appeal against its dissolution
by Mathias Hariyadi

Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia was involved in underground activities seeking to impose Sharia and a caliphate. The administration of President Widodo banned the extremist movement in May 2017. The Administrative Court had already rejected as inadmissible an appeal against the government decision.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – After a legal battle of nearly two years, the Indonesian Supreme Court (Mahkamah Agung) rejected an appeal by the Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) against the government's decision to dissolve the organisation.

In May 2017, the administration of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo banned the extremist movement, because its ideology contradicts the values ​​of Pancasila, Indonesia’s foundational political doctrine, which stresses ​​diversity and pluralism.

On 24 October of the same year, the Indonesian parliament approved Government Decree (Perppu) 2/2017 to regulate mass organisations that threaten the country's secular nature. The law now allows the government to avoid a lengthy process to declare them illegal.

HTI filed an appeal to the Supreme Court after the state administrative court in Jakarta ruled the appeal against the government decision inadmissible in May 2018.

Ismail Yusanto, spokesman for the Islamist group, told Indonesian media that they had not yet read the Supreme Court decision. Nevertheless, Yusanto accused the Court of discrimination, saying that the group would present new evidence to counter the verdict.

Meanwhile, HTI will vet the ruling with Yusril Ihza Mahendra, a former Indonesian Minister for Legal Affairs and Human Rights under President Yudhoyono.

Last month, Mahendra called for the release on humanitarian grounds of radical Islamic leader Abu Bakar Baasyir, a request that was first approved and then cancelled by the government following criticism.

Hizbut Tahrir was founded in 1953 in Palestine as an Islamic political party. In Indonesia, it changed its name to Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia and has been active since 1980.

Under the authoritarian rule of General Suharto, who was staunchly anti-communist and anti-Islamist, HTI was legally and politically marginalised.

In recent years, it has been involved in underground activities with a single goal: the imposition of Sharia and a caliphate in Indonesia.