Police defend year-long investigation of alleged Bintaro rape despite arresting suspect days after victim’s post went viral

Raffi Idzamallah AKA Gondes arrested on Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020. Photo: Istimewa
Raffi Idzamallah AKA Gondes arrested on Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020. Photo: Istimewa

Amid widespread accusations from the public that authorities did not take a sexual assault case seriously until after details of the case went viral online, the South Tangerang Police say they needed to be sure beyond any doubt that they had the correct suspect.

On Friday, a resident of Bintaro, who went by the handle @amyfitria.s on Instagram, posted that she was raped by a man named Raffi Idzamallah AKA Gondes at her home on Aug. 13, 2019 and suffered psychological abuse since. She reported the incident immediately to the police, but said the case hit a dead end as the police ruled that there was insufficient evidence linking Gondes to the crime.

Yet the South Tangerang Police arrested Gondes on Sunday — almost exactly a year after the incident — following mounting public outrage from the viral post.

“Proving and identifying the suspect required a process,” South Tangerang Police Crime Investigation Unit Head Muharam Wibisono said at a press conference yesterday afternoon.

Muharam added that in the year since the incident, the suspect regularly created burner accounts to psychologically torment the victim, which added another degree of difficulty for the police in tracking him down.

“We didn’t want to arrest somebody and not be able to prove that he was the culprit,” he said.

Muharam did not say what piece of irrefutable evidence the police found to be able to arrest Gondes days after the post went viral.

At any rate, @amyfitria.s has expressed happiness at Gondes’ capture, taking to Instagram yesterday to thank authorities and the public for the outcome of the case thus far.

The police have charged Gondes with rape and theft under the Penal Code (KUHP), which are punishable by up to 12 years and 9 years in prison, respectively.

This would not be the first time authorities in Indonesia took a sexual assault case seriously only after details about the case went viral. For that reason, lack of evidence and the stigma surrounding victims of sexual abuse in Indonesia, many victims still do not report incidents to the police.

ALSO READ — ‘…only because I made it go viral’: sexual harassment victim in Indonesia explains how she got justice through social media

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