Court rejects judicial review by Baiq Nuril, teacher sentenced to prison for recording principal’s sexual harassment

Baiq Nuril, an Indonesian teacher who was sentenced to six months in jail for recording sexual harassment by her boss. Photo: Kitabisa
Baiq Nuril, an Indonesian teacher who was sentenced to six months in jail for recording sexual harassment by her boss. Photo: Kitabisa

The controversial case of Baiq Nuril has come to an end with a recent court ruling, which will see her serve a six-month prison sentence for trying to out her sexual harasser.

In a written statement by the Supreme Court (MA) released today, the court said that it has rejected Baiq Nuril’s judicial review of her case — the last legal challenge she had available — and that she has to start serving her sentence.

The court ruled that Baiq’s judicial review — which was based on a mistake made by the MA judges adjudicating her appeal in 2018 — was groundless.

“The defendant’s argument that MA’s ruling contained a mistake or fault by the judges is not verifiable,” the statement read, as picked up by Detik.

Baiq’s case first began while she was working as a teacher at a high school in Mataram on the island of Lombok. She says that she was verbally sexually harassed with indecent conversation by her school’s principal several times before she decided to record him doing so during a phone conversation back in 2012.

When the recording was made public (the audio was uploaded not by Baiq but one of her colleagues instead), the principal lost his position. But in retaliation, he filed a criminal report over the recording for violating Indonesia’s Law on Electronic Transactions and Information (UU ITE), which criminalizes any electronic message or communication that could be considered slanderous or immoral (and which has been criticized innumerable times as a tool to promote censorship, limit free speech and protect those in power by criminalizing those who speak out against them).

Although found not guilty in the district court, the Supreme Court overturned that decision, ruling that Baiq was guilty of “distributing and/or transmitting or making accessible electronic information and/or electronic documents that have contents that violate morality.”

When the Supreme Court finally published the official court document pertaining to her case in December, it became apparent that the court ignored the sexual harassment aspect of her case, focusing instead on the principal’s honor.

“Because of the actions of the defendant, the career of the plaintiff, Haji Muslim, as a principal came to an end, his extended family was shamed and his honor was violated,” reads a passage in the much criticized court decision.

For that, Baiq was sentenced to six months in jail as well as a fine of IDR500 million (US$33,500). A crowdfunding campaign to pay her fine has raised IDR375 million so far.

There have been no reports so far on when Baiq will have to start serving her sentence.

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