The Jakarta Post
The Supreme Court has found 37-year-old high school teacher Baiq Nuril Maknun from Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), guilty of defaming the school's former principal by spreading a recording of a reportedly sordid phone call between the two of them, overturning a lower court's not guilty verdict.
According to the ruling, Nuril must serve a six-month sentence and pay a Rp 500 million (US$33,749) fine after being found guilty of violating Article 27 Point 1 of the 2016 Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law.
The Mataram District Court had previously found Nuril not guilty of the charges in July 2017, but prosecutors submitted a cassation petition to the Supreme Court shortly after.
Nuril has asked that President Joko "Joko" Widodo intervene in the case. "Mr. President, I am only asking for justice become I am just a victim here. Is it wrong for me to try and defend myself in my own way? I ask for justice," she said on Monday as quoted by kompas.com.
Her ordeal started in 2012 when she was working as a contract teacher at SMA 7 Mataram public high school. At the time, the school's principal, Muslim, allegedly called Nuril frequently on her cell phone and made sordid comments about his love affair with another woman.
She made a recording of one of the calls in which Muslim reportedly verbally abused Nuril. The recording was obtained by a coworker of hers in 2014 and subsequently went viral, leading to Muslim's demotion. He then reported Nuril to the NTB Police for defamation in 2015.
During her trial in 2017, Nuril was detained for two months before the Mataram District Court suspended her detention amid a public outcry.
"This ruling is bad news for victims and shows how the ITE Law continues to criminalize victims," Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network volunteer Rudi said in a statement.
Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) executive director Anggara condemned the ruling, saying it showed that Supreme Court did not show care in its decision.
“The ICJR once again calls on the government to quickly revise the ITE Law,” he said. (kmt)