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Indonesia dismisses its chief election commissioner over sexual assault

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JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia’s electoral commission fired its chairman on Wednesday after finding him guilty of sexual assault following a complaint by an employee.

The General Election Commission’s ethics council said its chairman, Hasyim Asyari, committed the assault in October and it had accepted the accuser’s complaint “entirely.”

The woman, identified only by her initials, worked at the commission’s office in The Hague, Netherlands, where she said Asyari during his visit asked her to come to his hotel room. The commission said in the ruling that Asyari “was proven to have used his power and misuse of state facilities to fulfill his personal desires.”

In April, another woman filed a complaint of sexual harassment against Asyari, and the ethics council sanctioned him with a “stern warning.”

The latest accuser attended the hearing at the commission in the capital, Jakarta, on Wednesday. It was unclear whether the woman plans to file a case with the police.

“From the beginning until now I have experienced a lot of ups and downs,” she told reporters after the ruling. “I want to inspire all victims in similar cases to be brave, especially women, to challenge or fight for justice.”

In a brief statement, Asyari told a news conference that he accepts the ruling by the election commission. He did not comment on the case.

Indonesia’s Parliament approved a far-reaching law in 2022 that sets punishment for sexual violence and guarantees provisions or restitution or other remedies for victims and survivors.

The National Commission on Violence Against Women recorded 289,111 cases in 2023, including about 4,179 cases of sexual violence in Indonesia. Data shows that the figure decreased around 12% compared to 2022.

Associated Press