Indonesia's Constitutional Court scraps centuries-old ban on freedom of expression

() - July 17, 2007 - 3:58pm

JAKARTA (AP) - Indonesia's Constitutional Court scrapped a centuries-old ban on voicing hostility or hatred of the government which had limited freedom of press and expression in the world's most populous Muslim nation.

"The articles had proportionally hampered the freedom of expression and therefore they ran against the constitution," said Jimly Asshidiqie, the court chairman, reading the ruling.

It ordered the removal of two articles from Indonesia's colonial-era Criminal Code, which made words against the government punishable by jail terms of up to seven years. In December, the same court scrapped three other articles banning insults against the president.

The code was introduced during the Dutch colonial rule and was frequently used by former strongman President Suharto to silence critics during his 32 years in power.

A small number of offenders, mainly students, were sentenced for insulting current President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

ARTICLES CODE COLONIAL CONSTITUTIONAL COURT COURT CRIMINAL CODE IN DECEMBER JIMLY ASSHIDIQIE PRESIDENT PRESIDENT SUHARTO PRESIDENT SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO
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