Indonesia’s much criticized ITE law has once again been used by state officials to arrest somebody for criticizing a government institution for possible corruption online. This time, the institution in question is Surabaya’s infamous zoo, which has been beset by constant scandals involving mismanagement and horrific animal mistreatment, leading it to be dubbed the “Zoo of Death” by some.
Animal rights activist Singky Soewadji was arrested by police on Monday for allegedly defaming the zoo by questioning the irregularities in its recent removal of 420 animals.
“We have received suspects and transferred the evidence from the East Java Police investigators,” said Surabaya State Attorney Didik Farkhan on Monday as quoted by Detik.
Singky was arrested under Indonesia’s ITE law, which criminalizes any online statements that could be considered slanderous or defamatory. He was reported to the police by the Indonesia Zoo Association (PKBSI) Chairman Rahmat Shah and PKBSI Secretary Toni Sumampou.
Singky took his arrest in stride, saying he thought it was worth it if it helped reveal the corruption inside the zoo.
“I am fighting for the truth. In contrast, if I was arrested for corruption, I would be embarrassed. In fact, it is the removal of the 420 animals that is suspect,” Singky said after his initial arrest.
Singky said that the removal of the animals from the zoo was filled with irregularities and involved many state officials. He said there was no way that so many animals could have been properly removed from the zoo in such a short time.