Jakarta. A Surabaya Zoo wildlife observer, Singky Soewadji, was detained on allegations of defamation and violating the law on information and electronic transactions for posting content deemed unlawful on social social media, according to the Surabaya Prosecutor's Office on Tuesday (23/08).
Surabaya’s chief prosecutor, Didik Farkhan Alisyahdi said that Singky will be detained for the next 20 days to facilitate investigations.
“If he is not arrested, the case will be prolonged as this has gone on since [May] 2014,” Didik said as quoted by Tempo.
Singky was first reported to the authorities in 2014 by Rahmat Shah, the chairman of the Indonesian Zoo Association, or PKBSI, after Singky posted on Facebook that the zoo has violated a number of laws when exchanging animals including wildlife trade rules. Singky added that there has been a grave departure from standard operating procedures claiming that most of the animals were in fact stolen.
“The cases of stealing animals from the Surabaya Zoo involved state officials, let the police uncover that,” Singky said as quoted by Antara news agency, adding that he is prepared to face the consequences.
“It’s not a problem, I’ve been ready since the East Java Police called me in. It’s not like I’m arrested for committing a crime, but because I am standing for what’s right,” Singky added.
Singky’s lawyer Martin Suryana reportedly told tempo that the arrest is a form of state repression imposed on Singky by law enforcement officers adding that it is a waste of state funds to arrest his client.
According to Didik, Singky may face a minimum of five years of imprisonment.
Other reports surfaced in 2014 where police in Surabaya said they had found sufficient evidence indicating that violations had occurred during the transfer of animals from the Surabaya Zoo. Investigations revealed that hundreds of animals died in unnatural and often harrowing conditions, amid reports of mistreatment and mismanagement.