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A Hunger for Justice

Hundreds Join Peaceful Protest in Bali in Support of Anand Krishna on a Hunger Strike for More than 45 Day.

(4/30/2011) Antara Bali reports that hundreds of Bali residents staged a peaceful protest demonstration at the Monument of the Peoples Struggle (Monumen Perjuangan Rakyat Bajra Sandhi) in Denpasar on Wednesday, April 20, 2011, to demand the release of Indonesian pluralist champion Anand Krishna.

Krishna, who commenced a hunger strike on March 9th to protest a perceived lack of objectivity in his ongoing trial in which he is charged with committing obscene acts with an unconscious or helpless individual. Krishna is alleged to have hypnotized several women affiliated with his organization, causing them to indulge in sexual improprieties.

He was charged in 2010 and his trial commenced in August of last year. Krishna's hunger strike is in protest at his sudden detention by Judge Hari Sasangka of the South Jakarta District Court on March 9th despite, as argued by Krishna's defense team, Krishna's cooperation over the preceding 7 months of the trial and the lack of any substantive evidence or witnesses.

Krishna's lawyer, Dwi Ria Latifah, has accused the three-judge panel now hearing the case of diverting the case away from the meager evidence presented by prosecutors and choosing instead to try to criminalize Anand's thinking and writing.

After visiting Krishna at a Jakarta hospital, one of Indonesia's most prominent senior lawyers, Adnan Buyung Nasution, criticized the sudden detention order as a violation of the Indonesian Criminal Code and the Judicial Code of Conduct which precludes judges from taking sides in a case before them. Said Nasution: "I've been practicing law for 50 years and just only this time, I find that a judge can put a defendant in the guilty side before the official court verdict is reached."

The former Indonesian Minister of Research and Technology, Muhammad AS Hiram who, together with President Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Door) in whose cabinet he served, is an outspoken defender of Indonesian pluralism, has voice his support for efforts to free Anand Krishna "from an unjust, inhuman and unfair trial."

According to Krishna's supporter, he is conducting a hunger-strike as a non-violent resistance against unjust and unfair treatment he contends he is receiving from the Court, rather than against the person who are acting against him.

The Bali demonstration were joined by Bali's residents who attend his prayer, education and holistic health center on the island together with a number of local  religious and political figures.

The peaceful protest included prayers, traditional dances and dramatic theatrical protests in support of their desire to see the charges against Anand Krishna dismissed.

The group also called on Indonesia's president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, to intervene in the trial process on behalf of "the fighter for pluralism" Anand Krishna, because the charges against him are false and can't be proven. The protestors claim the that Krishna's trial is an attempt to manipulate the law for political ends.

Meanwhile, Anand Krishna's hunger strike continues as does his trial in Jakarta.

[Anand Krishna Hunger Strike Website]

[Anand Krishna Foundation]