Two Women Sentenced to Months in Prison After Violating Draconian ITE Law

Florence Sihombing, right, was one of two Indonesian woman to be sentenced under the 2008 Law on Information and Electronic Transaction this week. (JG Photo/Boy T. Harjanto)

By : Yuli Krisna | on 8:15 PM March 31, 2015
Category : News, Crime, Featured, Human Rights

Bandung/Yogyakarta. Two Indonesian women on Tuesday were sentenced to months in prison for violating Indonesia's notorious 2008 Electronic Information and Transaction (ITE) law.

Bandung State Court sentenced 47-year-old housewife Wisni Yetty to five months of jail, plus a fine of Rp 100 million ($7700), or an additional six months' jail time for violating the law.

Yogyakarta postgraduate student Florence Sihombing, meanwhile, was handed a two-month prison sentence and a total fine of Rp 10 million ($770), pending six months' probation

The two cases are bound to stir concern among rights groups worried about freedom of expression and privacy in Indonesia.

In February last year Wisni was reported to West Java Police by her husband for distributing and transmitting immoral content online.

Wisni's husband, Haska Estika, obtained a transcript of a private Facebook conversation from 2011 in which Wisni reportedly told a friend about Haska abusing her. Haska then reported his wife to the police.

Judge Saptono of the Bandung State Court said on Tuesday that Wisni was guilty of defaming her husband.

Damar Juniarto, coordinator of the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SafeNet), argued that the court had recklessly ignored evidence that was helpful for Wisni.

Damar said that the conversation between Wisni and her friend — about domestic violence — was done through a private social media feature.

He added that the court should have prosecuted Haska for accessing Wisni's Facebook account without her consent.

"He should've been tried with article 30 from the IT [2008 Law on Electronic Information and Transaction] law. He could get six to eight years' imprisonment and a total fine between Rp 600 to Rp 800 million," Damar said.

Yogyakarta State Court, meanwhile, sentenced Florence — a postgraduate student at Gadjah Mada University (UGM) — to two months in jail and a total fine of Rp 10 million, or an additional one month of jail time for violating article 27 of the law.

However, she was handed six months' probation.

Florence became the subject of a social media uproar in August last year after a post she had published on social media network Path was screen-captured and went viral, triggering a awave of negative reactions, mainly from residents of Yogyakarta.

"Yogyakarta is poor, stupid and uncultured. Friends in Jakarta and Bandung, please don't come to Yogya," her post said.

Chief Judge Bambang Sunanto said on Tuesday that Florence's post contained "insults" and created "restlessness" among residents of Yogyakarta.

"The court decides that the suspect does not need to undergo the sentence unless she commits crime before her six-month probation time ends," Bambang said as cited by news portal Republika.co.id.

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