Acquitted rape victim begins school as prosecution appeal looms

Jon Afrizal

The Jakarta Post

Jambi

Jakarta, posted: Tue, September 11, 2018 | 01:00 pm

Save Our Sisters activists hold a rally in front of the Jambi Prosecutor's Office on July 26 to demand the release of a 15-year-old girl who was sent to prison for aborting her pregnancy after being raped by her brother.(JP/Jon Afrizal)

Monday was a special day for WA, the 15-year-old girl acquitted by the Jambi High Court of an abortion charge on Aug. 27.

The Muara Bulian District Court had previously sentenced her to six months of imprisonment for undergoing an unlawful abortion of an 8-month-old fetus and had sentenced her brother to two years for sexually assaulting her.

The girl resumed her education on Monday, visiting a school near a house provided to her by the Jambi Social Affairs Agency in Jambi city.

The agency had decided not to send the still traumatized girl back to her village in the district of Muaratembesi. She will stay at the house until her mother, who is on trial for helping abort the pregnancy, is released.

However, a plan by the Batanghari Prosecutor’s Office to appeal to the Supreme Court against the high court’s ruling looms large on her, although no clear information regarding the plan is available so far.

The head of the prosecutor’s office’s general crimes section, Heru Duwi Atmojo, was unavailable for an interview with The Jakarta Post.

A local news outlet, Metrojambi.com, had quoted Heru as saying on Sunday that his office had received the Jambi High Court’s decision to acquit the teenager through the Muara Bulian District Court on Sept. 3 and that they would file an appeal. 

The prosecutor’s office also reportedly plans to appeal in the case of the girl’s brother to seek a harsher sentence of seven years of imprisonment.

Researcher Maidina of the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) questioned the chances of the appeal, saying the motivation behind it was merely that the punishment was more lenient than demanded by the prosecutors.

“What must also be taken into consideration is that this girl is a victim, a minor, and she is suffering from trauma,” Maidina said.

Save Our Sisters (SOS) spokesperson Zubaidah, who accompanied the girl, concurred, calling the prosecutors’ move “unfair” because the trauma was still there. “Don’t just look at the legal side. Bear in mind also the psychological side,” she said. (swa)

TOPIC

Jambi rape-victim rape-survivor abortion teenagers teen-pregnancy