INDONESIA: Factory worker freed

Issue 

BY MARIA VOUKELATOS

Ngadinah binti Abu Mawardi made Indonesian history on August 30 when she became one of the first workers to defend herself in a court of law and win.

The factory worker, who produces merchandise for giant Western sportswear company Adidas, was controversially jailed for organising and inciting workers to join a strike.

But on August 30, a panel of three judges pronounced Ngadinah not guilty of both charges. They said that she was "fully rehabilitated" and ordered the government to pay her court costs. They didn't apologise for imprisoning her for a month before the trial.

In what could be an important precedent for other workers' rights trials, the judges did, however, refer to International Labour Organisation conventions, which bind signatories to protecting freedom of association, including the right of workers to give speeches to other workers about their rights, and to discuss those rights with fellow workers.

One hundred and fifty workmates and labour organisers attended the final court hearing and celebrated her victory.

One said, "This is the first time I have ever heard of this happening in Indonesia".

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