Responding to the Supreme Court’s decision to sentence Baiq Nuril Maknun, a high school teacher, to six months imprisonment and a fine on charges of ‘violating decency’ under the Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law, Amnesty International Indonesia’s Executive Director Usman Hamid said:
“This absurd ruling by the Supreme Court appears to jail someone just for documenting the abuse they were subjected to from their employer. Unsolicited, sexually explicit and abusive telephone calls would constitute sexual harassment and should be investigated as a priority, with charges brought accordingly.
“It is a travesty that while the victim of the alleged abuse has been convicted for recording this call, little if any action appears to have been taken by the authorities to investigate what appear to be credible claims.
“Today’s verdict also shows, yet again, the ITE Law being used repressively. Its vague definitions of defamation, blasphemy and in this case ‘sharing information violating decency’ have routinely been used in abusive ways – often to silence freedom of expression. In this case, it appears a woman was criminalized simply for taking steps to redress the abuse she experienced. Nuril must be freed, and the ITE law must be amended.”
On 14 November, the Supreme Court ordered a jail term of six months for high school teacher Baiq Nuril Maknun under the ITE law for ‘sharing information violating decency’, overturning an earlier verdict from the Mataram State court that had cleared Nuril of all charges. The Supreme Court also instructed Nuril to pay Rp 500,000,000 ($33,878) in fines.
Nuril recorded one of several telephone calls from her school principal during which he was alleged to have made sexually explicit and abusive comments.
The recording was distributed among school staff and an acquaintance of Nuril’s submitted it to the head of the local education agency, in Mataram, leading the school principal to be reassigned to a position inside the agency itself. The recording also went viral on social media.
The school principal later reported Nuril to the police for distributing the recording of their conversation.