The trial of Auj-E Taqaddas, the British woman who infamously slapped an immigration officer last July after being asked to pay a hefty visa overstay fine, has finally resumed. Prosecutors in Denpasar District Court demanded on Monday that the Lahore-born British national be sentenced to a year in prison, according to a report in local-language news portal Bali Post.
Taqaddas was an overnight Instagram sensation after a video, filmed inside the immigration office during the fateful argument, went viral. Recorded by airport staff, the footage shows the 43-year old completely lose it over the IDR42 million (US$2,765) fee she was expected to pay for staying several months after her visa had expired.
After postponing proceedings due to Taqaddas’ request for legal representation, her trial resumed on Monday. The initial examination was directed by a panel of judges that included Esthar Oktavi, a court official who had criticized Taqaddas’ too-informal choice of attire at a previous hearing in November.
During the hearing, Taqaddas claimed that video of the immigration officers circulating in the public had been set up. “It’s not the original video,” she said, as quoted in Bali Post. Unlikely, considering the footage quality and contents, and a later string of similar viral videos showing a characteristically angry Taqaddas screaming at hotel staff and charging a security officer with a chair and a broom.
She also claimed that the immigration officers had acted unprofessionally. “Because I asked repeatedly [about the passport being detained and not being allowed to leave Indonesia], and the immigration officers did not answer. Instead they were laughing and taking videos,” she said. In a last-ditch effort to salvage the case, she asserted that the officer had ‘deserved’ to get slapped for his unprofessional conduct.
Public Prosecutor Nyoman Triarta Kurniawan concluded that Taqaddas had been found guilty of violating the provisions of Article 212 of the Criminal Code, namely threatening violence or behaving violently against an official who was legitimately carrying out their duties, as reported by Bali Post.
A disgruntled Taqaddas reportedly tried to reason with the judges, even after the hearing had finished. According to a report in Tribun Bali, the British national had to be escorted out of the courtroom by police after disrupting the proceedings of other cases.
The drama continued outside as she allegedly cursed her police guards and met the waiting media with yet another emotional outburst; “Don’t take my photo, I’ll destroy your camera later. It’s not funny. Where is the truth in this country?” she exclaimed, as quoted by the source.
The trial will continue Monday.