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Indonesian farmers win ‘land grab’ legal battle

ucanews.com | 22 September 2011
Two of the farmers after the verdict

FOUR indigenous farmers won a legal battle Monday to have two controversial articles struck from a plantation law which they say prevent them from attempting to reclaim lost ancestral lands.

The farmers, from various parts of Indonesia, went to the Constitutional Court in August last year seeking the removal of Articles 21 and 47 from the law after they were handed jail sentences of between six months and a year for conducting protests against plantation owners who they say took their land from them.

Article 21 prohibits activity that might cause damage to a plantation or its assets, any use of plantation land without permission or any other action that disturbs plantations business. Article 47 stipulates that violators of these prohibitions face maximum jail term of five years and a fine of up to five billion rupiah (US$650,000).

The farmers said that the articles denied them the right to protest the acquisition of land that rightfully belongs to them.

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