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Jakarta Post

Batam businessman named suspect over police meme

Batam businessman named suspect over police meme WhatsApp and Facebook app icons on a smartphone. A businessman in Riau Islands has been arrested for posting an allegedly defamatory message on a Whatsapp social media group. (AP/Patrick Sison)
Batam   ●   Sun, March 5, 2017

After a three-month investigation, Riau Islands Police have named Makruf Maulana, head of the province’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), a defamation suspect for posting a meme that was perceived as insulting the police.

The meme, which was posted in a WhatsApp social media group, allegedly aimed to make a joke out of a case in which the police foiled a plan to bomb the State Palace.

“He is now a suspect although we have not detained him since he has cooperated all this time,” Riau Islands Police’s special crimes unit head Sr. Comr. Budi Suryanto said on Sunday.

The police will soon wrap up its investigation before sending Makruf’s dossier to the local prosecutor’s office.

Makruf, who has been charged with online defamation, which carries a maximum sentence of six years in prison, once again maintained his innocence, saying that he never intended to insult the police.

“But, I am not afraid. Serving prison time is not a new thing for me,” said Makruf who revealed that he had previously been detained in the early 2000s for his involvement in a rally. (ipa)