Prita’s acquittal called consumer victory
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JAKARTA: A recent Supreme Court ruling acquitting Prita Mulyasari, the mother convicted of libeling a Tangerang hospital, shows that Indonesian consumers have rights, a lawyer says.
“The verdict implies that a consumer’s rights to express opinions might be better protected in the future,” Prita’s lawyer, Slamet Yuwono, told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
Prita’s case enraged the nation when Omni International Hospital filed civil and criminal lawsuits against her for sending an email complaining about service at the hospital to her associates.
The Tangerang Prosecutor’s Office threw the book at Prita, charging her under the Law on Information and Electronic Transactions with offenses that carried a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment.
In 2009, the Tangerang District Court ruled in favor of the hospital in a civil suit, requiring Prita to pay a staggering Rp 340 million (US$40,120).
The Supreme Court, however, cleared Prita in the civil suit charges on appeal, but then sentenced the mother of two to six months’ imprisonment.
Prita appealed again, and the court reversed itself, clearing her of the criminal charges.
“The judges acquitted Prita after the convict presented convincing new evidence during the case review,” Supreme Court spokesman Ridwan Mansyur said as quoted by tribunnews.com.