Police in the Kuta Alam sub-district of Banda Aceh have begun questioning witnesses after a video showing a young boy hanging by his ankles went viral recently. However, the police seem to be focused on how the video was spread instead of possible child abuse.
In the video, the boy is seen hanging upside down, with rope tied around his ankles and his head touching the bed. The boy can be seen crying in pain, while several women attempt to untie him. According to reports, the video was taken on Jan. 10 in Kuta Alam’s Beurawe village.
Kuta Alam Police Chief Miftahuda Dizha Fezuono said five women have so far provided statements and that seven others are in line for questioning, including the person who uploaded the video.
Miftahuda explained that the incident has previously been resolved in a kekeluargaan manner, in a meeting attended by the mother, village officials, police officers and a number of witnesses, as well as officials from the city’s Integrated Center for Women and Children Empowerment office (P2TP2A). He said the meeting took place before the video made its rounds on social media.
Kekeluargaan, which roughly translates to “between family members”, is an Indonesian euphemism for amicably coming to an agreement not to press charges for a crime.
“The incident took place almost two weeks ago, but why is the video only circulating now? So we will look if there was any element of crime in it. The police will also question the person who circulated the video. At the moment, we’re currently investigating the case,” Miftahuda said yesterday, as quoted by Kompas.
Police said that they questioned the perpetrator, a 26-year-old single mother identified by her initials NH, who said that she left her 8-year-old son, identified by his initials AAF, literally hanging while she went out to buy food. NH said it was a form of punishment as AAF didn’t ask her permission to play after school.
Police then reportedly apprehended NH on Jan 13, and the matter was later resolved in the aforementioned meeting, where they also agreed that both NH and AAF are required to attend counseling sessions at P2TP2A’s temporary shelter.
It’s not yet clear what potential charges await whoever disseminated the video. However, under Indonesia’s highly controversial and ambiguous Information and Electronic Transactions Act (UU ITE), online dissemination of such a video can be categorized as defamation, and the uploader can be jailed for up to six years.