No lawsuits will be filed in this week’s huge Alfamart theft/defamation case, police said, after the two parties involved have agreed to reach an amicable resolution.
Over the weekend, an employee of convenience store chain Alfamart in Tangerang caught a woman stealing chocolate bars from the store. The employee filmed her confrontation with the woman, who eventually reportedly paid for the confectionery.
The woman later came back with a lawyer demanding the employee apologize publicly, accusing the latter of tarnishing her good name by uploading the clip online, which went viral. The woman’s lawyer argued that the video was defamatory towards his client, which is a crime punishable by up to four years in prison under the Information and Electronic Transactions Act (UU ITE).
As the story exploded, there was overwhelming public condemnation towards the woman and huge public support for the employee, to the point that renowned lawyer Hotman Paris offered his legal services pro bono to the latter. Alfamart also said it agreed to appoint Hotman to represent them in what they say was legal intimidation towards their employee.
Any threats of lawsuits seem to be gone now after the South Tangerang Police yesterday held a mediation session between the woman and the employee.
“The two parties have agreed [not to file lawsuits] because they both acknowledged the woman’s psychological condition,” South Tangerang Police Chief Sarly Sollu said.
Sarly did not elaborate further on whether the woman had a pre-existing psychological condition prior to the incident or if she was traumatized by the public’s condemnation towards her.
Alfamart confirmed that it will not sue the woman after the mediation session.
Indonesia has the Information and Electronic Transactions Act (UU ITE), which heavily criminalizes online defamation. The ambiguously-worded law has long been used as a tool by those in power or greater social standing to silence any form of criticism, legitimate or otherwise.
Condemnation poured in towards the woman for using UU ITE to threaten the Alfamart employee into apologizing. However, some regretted the fact that the employee opened up an opportunity for the customer to sue her by uploading the video, despite the woman eventually paying for the chocolate bars.