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Indonesia Enacts Law Potentially Criminalizing Parliament Critics - Reports

© AFP 2023 / ROMEO GACAD / Indonesia's Constitutional Court is seen in Jakarta
Indonesia's Constitutional Court is seen in Jakarta - Sputnik International
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Indonesia enacted on Wednesday the controversial Legislative Institution Law (MD3) potentially criminalizing critics of the country's parliament or its members, even though the law was not approved by the country's president, the Jakarta Post newspaper reported Thursday.

"I understand and I know that […] the law will remain valid even without my signature. Therefore, to solve the issue, the public is welcomed to file a judicial review with the Constitutional Court," Jokowi said, as quoted by the Jakarta Post newspaper.

The MD3 law paves a way to press charges against anyone who "disrespects parliament or its members," but does not define what disrespect means and does not outline possible minimum or maximum prison terms for its violation.

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The law also presumes that any probe of a parliamentarian must be approved by the House Ethics Council, which has the right to block investigations by Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission.

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Earlier in the day, hundreds of protesters gathered near the Constitutional Court in Jakarta, calling for the law to be revoked. The court's spokesman said that it had already received three petitions challenging the MD3 law, but that making a decision may take as long as several months.

On Wednesday, the country's President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo refused to sign the law, but it was enacted automatically one month after the House of Representatives passed the MD3 bill on February 12.

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