The Indonesian Christian Church and the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation on Thursday reported the Bogor administration to the national Ombudsman Commission for defying a Supreme Court ruling and sealing off the church’s house of worship.
In the report, the church, known as GKI Yasmin, accused the city administration of refusing to abide by a Supreme Court ruling by forcefully closing down its building in Bogor on Sunday.
Although in possession of a construction permit issued in 2006, the GKI Yasmin church was sealed by the city in 2010 on the argument that residents opposed the building of the house of worship.
The Supreme Court in January ruled against the revocation of the church’s permit by the Bogor administration and ordered the church reopened. However, the city has refused to comply, citing a ruling of the Bogor District Court that the church had falsified residents’s signatures in order to get the building permit.
Erna Ratnaningsih, chairwoman of the foundation, also known at the YLBHI, told the Jakarta Globe on Thursday that the commission, which is charged with supervising and improving public services, needed to probe the city for discrimination.
“The Bogor administration has violated a Supreme Court decision on the church building permit issued in 2006. They have even tried to give GKI Yasmin two alternative options regarding this case,” Erna said.
She said one solution proposed by the city shortly after the Supreme Court ruling entailed the church relocating, with the land and building to be purchased by the city. GKI Yasmin rejected the proposals.
The church’s spokesman, Bona Sigalingging, said on Thursday that Bogor officials had told him that they would not abide by the court’s decision.
“On March 7, we met with the Bogor administration and they said that they had received the Supreme Court letter ordering the church reopened.” Bona said. He claimed they said they would again seal the church to prevent tension between Muslims and Christians.
Ombudsman Commission chairman Budi Santosa said on Thursday that it would be following up the case as soon as possible.
“Tomorrow, we will discuss the final time to invite the Bogor mayor [Diani Budiarto] to get his clarification,” Budi said, adding that two previous summonses had been ignored.
“We will find a clarification on why they did not respond to the letters and why they did not execute the Supreme Court decision,” he added.
Meanwhile, Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali said the government had also requested an explanation from the Bogor mayor on the issue.
“If there is no legal problem concerning the permit, then there is no reason for us to hamper the construction of the house of worship.”
The church on Jalan KH Abdullah bin Nuh was padlocked on Saturday night and barricaded on Sunday morning by police, Mobile Brigade (Brimob) and public order agency (Satpol PP) officers.
Over the past decade, the congregation has had to face down protests from fundamentalist Muslims and officials in order to build its church there.
It was forced to hold its services on the sidewalk in front of the half-constructed building for much of last year after the Bogor administration first revoked its building permit in March 2010.