The Indonesian Police handles most civil society gatherings, from demonstrations to football matches. To control the crowd, they often use an excessive amount of tear gas which leads to high numbers of victims and deaths from tear gas.
Devy Christa receives a call from a friend on a Sunday morning who urges her to look at the television news. It turns out all the news is about her mother, Merry Utami, who is on her way to Nusa Kambangan—a highly secure prison in Indonesia.
Devy Christa remembers fragments of her memory with her mother. Her mother went away for quite a long time to become a migrant worker to provide money for the operation of Devy’s brother, Yossi. And now, Devy sees her mother again on television.
Devy Christa discovers the details about the case of her mother, Merry Utami, the same week the state plans to execute her. Her mother was manipulated by a foreign man named Jerry and underwent an unfair process of interrogation, trial, arrest, and detention for over a dozen years.
President Jokowi may have cancelled Merry Utami’s execution that day, but he never gave the clemency. To this day, Merry can still be executed at any time. Devy Christa continues to hope, “Don’t let them kill my mother”.
For years, farmers and residents caught in agrarian conflicts throughout Indonesia have faced criminalisation, brutality and murder. The mandate to conduct social distancing, however, provides the authorities with further justification to thwart their fight.
As the Indonesian government stumbles with public communication, journalists are putting their lives at risk trying to convey the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic. Government censors, however, are making this an insurmountable task.