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Jakarta Post

ITE Law victims group urges Aceh police to stop investigation against lecturer

  • Dyaning Pangestika
    Dyaning Pangestika

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, September 3, 2019   /   04:12 pm
ITE Law victims group urges Aceh police to stop investigation against lecturer Activists stage a rally in front of the Presidential Palace in Jakarta on Jan. 8, demanding the government abolish the Electronic Information and Transactions Law. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

A group that calls itself Victims of the Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law Community (PAKU ITE) has urged the Aceh Police to stop the investigation into Saiful Mahdi, a lecturer from Syiah Kuala University, who is a suspect in a defamation case. 

Saiful was accused of defamation over a message he sent in the university’s WhatsApp chat group comprising around 100 lecturers.

In the message sent in March, Saiful criticizes the result of a civil servant test for engineering school lecturers.

"Innalillahiwainnailaihirajiun [We belong to Allah and to Allah we return]. I have received sad news about the death of common sense in the leadership ranks of [the university's] engineering school during the last civil servant test. [Is this] proof that the technological determinism of the engineering [school] is very easy to corrupt?"

He continued with the Chinese New Year greeting "Gong Xi Fat Cai !!!", as the chat was sent shortly after the celebration of Chinese New Year.

"Why is a school that was once so glorious now so faint-hearted? Why do we take so much pride in a new faculty? Because meritocracy was applied starting with recruitment. Only the mediocre or those entangled in "debt" are afraid of meritocracy."

PAKU ITE chairman Muhammad Arsyad said Saiful could not be charged with the ITE Law because he merely delivered his opinion in a private forum. Moreover, Saiful also did not direct his text to a particular person, but to the whole faculty.

“What Saiful did was express his opinion, which is protected by the law as stipulated in Law No. 28/1945 on human rights,” he said in a written statement received by The Jakarta Post on Tuesday. 


Editor's note: This article has been updated with a more accurate translation of the text sent by Saiful to the WhatsApp group chat.