The Jakarta Post
A small-time worker in East Jakarta has been arrested for allegedly posting a doctored pornographic picture which bears the faces of President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo and Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri.
Muhammad Arsyad, 24, was charged with defamation and spreading pornographic material, a violation of the 2008 Anti-Pornography Law.
Police detectives arrested Arsyad at his parents' home in Kramat Jakarta in East Jakarta on Oct. 24.
The National Police's economics and special crimes director, Brig. Gen. Kamil Razak, said on Wednesday that the arrest was based on a report filed by Henry Yosodiningrat, a PDI-P lawmaker and a member of the party's legal team, on July 27 when Jokowi, then Jakarta governor, was still campaigning for the presidential election.
'The suspect could face 12 years in prison under Article 29 of the 2008 Anti-Pornography Law on the distribution of pornographic pictures, and Article 310 and 311 on defamation,' Kamil told a press briefing.
The police are still pursuing more suspects in the case, believing that Arsyad did not act alone.
The police worked in coordination with the Communication and Information Ministry to block Arsyad's Facebook account.
Kamal said the police would continue to prosecute the case as the violation could be deemed a regular crime.
'The suspect apologized but that is his own business. We can't broker a mediation. It is up to Pak Jokowi. We started investigating the case not solely based on the report. We have the authority to pursue the case,' Kamil said.
Arsyad's arrest has caused a public outcry and many have called for President Jokowi to forgive Arsyad.
In a television interview on Wednesday, Arsyad's mother, Mursidah, cried and bowed down asking for Jokowi's forgiveness for her son.
Mursidah, an onion peeler at Kramat Jati traditional market, said that her son was not aware that manipulating and uploading pornographic images could be considered a crime.
A member of the PDI-P legal team, Teguh Samudra, apparently dismissed the public outcry, arguing that Arsyad, like any other citizen, must be responsible for his actions.
'He is a 24-year-old man who has the ability to tell the difference between right and wrong. He published the pornographic picture on purpose,' Teguh told The Jakarta Post.
He said that it was the PDI-P and not Jokowi, who sought legal action against Arsyad.
Teguh shrugged off deputy House of Representatives speaker Fadli Zon's suggestion that police were overzealous in their prosecution of Arsyad only to please Jokowi.
'The case could serve as a reminder that we should not easily slander others. We appreciate the police's work. The force's action is not an act to win praise, as Fadli Zon accused,' he said.
Separately, Democratic Party executive chairman Syariefuddin Hasan said that Jokowi should follow the footsteps of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in allowing critics to freely express their opinion.
'For ten years, Pak SBY [Yudhoyono] was bullied, his images were burned, and his family and actions were the subject of condemnation. The president faced these patiently,' Syarief said.
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