Prabowo supporter arrested for saying he wants to decapitate President Jokowi during protest, may face death penalty

Treason suspect Hermawan Susanto may face the death penalty for threatening to decapitate Indonesian President Joko Widodo. Photo: Youtube screengrab

A man has been charged with treason and could face the death penalty after he threatened to decapitate President Joko Widodo in a viral video taken during a demonstration protesting the outcome of the presidential election.

Hermawan Susanto was among several hundred supporters of presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto who came out to protest at the Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) on Friday demanding that the election result — which has been all but officially confirmed as a victory for the incumbent — be overturned due to supposed fraud.

During the protest, Hermawan was recorded saying, “Jokowi, be ready to have your head decapitated” several times to somebody who was filming him, while two women chimed in with chants of Inshallah (God willing) and Allahuakbar (God is great). Another man, whose face was covered, repeatedly said “amen”. Throughout the clip, they all held up the two-finger salute, symbolizing their support for Prabowo’s campaign.

On Sunday morning, the Jakarta Metro Police arrested Hermawan at his home in Bogor, West Java. The police have released a video of the arrest, in which Hermawan admitted that he said he wanted to decapitate Jokowi because his emotions got the better of him and that he was ready to face the law.

“…Threatening the life of the president of Indonesia, the video of which has become viral on social media, is a violation of Article 104 of the KUHP (Criminal Code) and Article 27 Verse 4 and Article 45 Verse 1 of the UU ITE (Information and Electronic Transactions Act),” Jakarta Metro Police Spokesperson Argo Yuwono said at a press conference for Hermawan’s arrest yesterday, as quoted by Suara.

Article 104 of the KUHP says that treason with intent to harm or kill the head of state is a crime punishable by the death penalty or a maximum 20-year imprisonment. The UU ITE violations as stated above could also see Hermawan given a six-year sentence and a IDR1 billion (US$70,000) fine for his alleged role in disseminating defamatory content online.

Police are also searching for others who appeared in the video, including one of the women in the video, who looked like she was holding the camera to film herself with Hermawan. Some on social media speculated that she was a schoolteacher in Sukabumi, West Java based on her likeness, but the police confirmed the teacher’s alibi after she was able to prove she was not in Jakarta on Friday.

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