Activists urge Jokowi to pardon women convicted in sexual harassment case

Antara News – July 5, 2019
Aziz Fauzi (second left) and Ade Wahyudin (third left) speak to media – July 5, 2019 (Antara)
Aziz Fauzi (second left) and Ade Wahyudin (third left) speak to media – July 5, 2019 (Antara)

Jakarta – The Civil Society Coalition, which is made up of a number of non-government organisations (NGOs), is urging President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to give amnesty to Baiq Nuril after the Supreme Court rejected her appeal today.

“Only the president can give amnesty, there is no other way. Only this can wipe out the legal consequences”, said Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) researcher Genoveva Alicia at the Legal Aid Institute for the Press (LBH Pers) offices in South Jakarta on Friday.

The Supreme Court’s ruling, she said, will complicate efforts to pursuade victims of sexual violence to have the courage to speak out and take action against the violence they suffer.

Speaking in the same vein as Alicia, LBH Pers Chairperson Ade Wahyudin said that the Civil Society Coalition is calling in a pledge by the House of Represents (DPR) to form a team to examine the case.

Through this team, the DPR can push the president to give Nuril amnesty. “We will be communicating intensively with the DPR, we must be optimistic”, said Wahyudin.

Meanwhile Nuril’s lawyer, Aziz Fauzi, said that amnesty is the final option for his client to avoid being jailed.

It is not possible, he said, for Nuril to be given clemency because the requirements for receiving clemency are restricted to defendants who have been sentenced to two years or more, life imprisonment or the death penalty.

Nuril meanwhile has been sentenced to six months jail and a fine of 500 million rupiah. “We hope that she will be given amnesty before the sentence is executed which may well happen within 14 days”, he said.

The Supreme Court’s rejection of Nuril appeal automatically confirms a lower court's six month sentence against the woman from West Nusa Tenggara (NTB).

The case, which has grabbed the attention of the Indonesian public, began in 2012 when the former honorary teacher at the Mataram 7 State Senior High School (SMAN) in NTB recorded phone conversations when she was sexually harassed by her superior, Mataram 7 SMAN school principle H Muslim.

According to Fauzi, the audio recording was made by Nuril to protect herself from the sexual harassment by her boss.

“In no way did Baiq ever think about reporting it to the police because it was just a form of evidence to show that she was not having any kind of relationship with her superior”, said Fauzi.

Fauzi says that Nuril spoke about the sexual harassment with her female colleagues on the phone. However one of her other colleges asked Nuril for a copy of the recording and unbeknown to her, they then posted it on social media.

Nuril was then reported by her boss to the police for allegedly distributing the recorded conversation. Nuril was charged under Article 27 Paragraph 1 in conjunction with Article 45 Article 1 of Law Number 11/2008 on Information and Electronic Transitions (ITE).

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Gabungan LSM desak Presiden Jokowi berikan amnesti Baiq Nuril”.]