Hacktivists target Indonesian district court over lawsuit

The website of the Palembang District Court in Southern Sumatra has been hacked, in protest of a recent decision to throw out an Indonesian government lawsuit levelled against pulp and paper company PT Bumi Mekar Hijau.


Late last year, the Palembang District Court dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry against Asia Pulp and Paper supplier PT Bumi Mekar Hijau. The company was accused of failing to prevent a mass episode of forest fires in Southern Sumatra last year that engulfed Southeast Asia in a toxic haze and sparked an air pollution crisis in several countries. The lawsuit sought $565m worth of damages from Bumi Mekar Hijau. Though the World Bank estimates that the fires cost Indonesia's economy $16bn, judges at the Palembang District Court dismissed the lawsuit on the grounds that the fires and resulting toxic haze had done no permanent damage to the natural environment. Additionally, the court concluded that the Indonesian government could not prove that financial and biodiversity losses had resulted from the fires.

Website hacked

A hacker, or group of hackers, have now infiltrated the website of the Palembang District Court to protest the decision. Their message appeared on the website as white text on a black background, and called for justice for those individuals affected by the toxic haze. 'I probably do not really understand legal matters but I do understand the suffering of having to breathe in the haze, it's suffocating. It's more suffocating now than when I found out the ruling made by the judges,' the message read. The note also carried instructions on how to undo the hack and remove the message.

Similar sentiments

The hackers' sentiments echo earlier comments made by Khalisah Khalid, head of research and resource development for the Indonesian Forum for the Environment, when she expressed her disappointment at the court's decision. 'The implications are extraordinary. In future, those responsible for forest fires and corporations will feel they can't be touched by the law,' she warned. 'Haze will continue to happen, and the victims will continue to increase.'  Sources: The Straits Times; Channel NewsAsia

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