President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has joined many Indonesians in voicing his concerns over the controversial defamation case against a teacher from Lombok named Baiq Nuril.
Speaking to the press today, as reported by Metro TV, Jokowi urged Nuril to continue seeking justice from the Supreme Court (MA), which controversially sentenced her to six months in prison and gave her an IDR500 million (US$33,912) fine for recording audio of her principle making explicit and inappropriate sexual remarks towards her. The country’s highest court overturned a lower court decision in deciding that she had violated Indonesia’s draconian Information and Electronic Transactions Law (UU ITE) by allowing the recording’s “immoral” content to be distributed electronically.
Jokowi said that while he wouldn’t intervene in Nuril’s ongoing legal case, he may have to step in if her judicial review at the MA — the last legal option she has for acquittal as she can’t appeal an MA ruling — fails.
“If after the judicial review she doesn’t get justice, she can apply for a presidential pardon. When it’s at the pardon stage, I’ll take over,” Jokowi said.
While neither Nuril nor her legal representatives have indicated that they would file a judicial review at the MA, it appears they are preparing for it as Nuril said she is going to report the principal to the police for sexual harassment today. In theory, a conviction against the principal could be used as the new piece of evidence required to submit a judicial review.
Celebrity attorney Hotman Paris has also publicly denounced Nuril’s sentence, calling on Jokowi to order the attorney general to delay carrying out her sentence while she fights for justice.
President Jokowi has pardoned a UU ITE convict before. In 2014, just days after Jokowi’s inauguration as president, a young sate seller was arrested for photoshopping faces of prominent politicians, including Jokowi’s, onto photos of nude porn actors. The culprit was arrested after police received a complaint from a politician in Jokowi’s party, but Jokowi later pardoned the seller and ordered his release.
Last week, a fundraising campaign to help Nuril pay her fine was launched on local crowdfunding website Kitabisa. As of today, netizens have raised more than IDR300 million to help Nuril.
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