Jakarta – Perempuan Mahardika (Free Women), a non-government organisation (NOG) working to protect women, is calling on President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to give amnesty to Baiq Nuril after the Supreme Court rejected her appeal yesterday.
Perempuan Mahardiaka National Secretary Mutiara Ika Pratiwi said that Widodo needs to immediately pardon Nuril because the former Mataram 7 State Senior High School teacher has been discriminated against.
The criminalisation occurred because Nuril, who in fact was a victim of sexual harassment, was instead indicted for allegedly violating Law Number 11/2008 on Information and Electronic Transactions (ITE).
Yet Nuril made the recording of verbal sexual harassment as a way of protecting herself.
Consequently, as a result of the Supreme Court’s verdict, Nuril, who was the victim, will have to serve a jail sentence and pay a large fine. Perempuan Mahardika believes that this is an injustice and an error in the handling of verbal, non-physical cases of sexual harassment under Indonesian law.
The group believes therefore that the only way to save Nuril is if Widodo gives her amnesty.
“We as women workers demand that President Jokowi give an amnesty to Baiq Nuril”, said Pratiwi at the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) offices in Jakarta on Saturday July 6.
Furthermore, said Pratiwi, Widodo needs to immediately give amnesty to Nuril to demonstrate his commitment to protecting women which he has so often conveyed. Moreover, he recently raised the issue of protecting women at the G20 Ministerial Level Conference (KTT) in Osaka, Japan.
Widodo, she said, stated that the government is committed to increasing the participation of women in business, economic and political affairs. But, according to Pertiwi, this will not be able to become a reality if the state does not defend victims of sexual harassment such as Nuril.
“The message given by President Jokowi at the KTT G20 in Osaka, will of course not be realised if women’s efforts to be free from the shackles of sexual violence don’t get support”, said Pertiwi.
In addition to this, she is also calling for the ratification of International Labour Convention (ILO) 190 on the Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the Workplace.
According to Pertiwi, this convention can become a basis for law enforcement in dealing with sexual harassment in Indonesia in the future. Not being left out, Pertiwi also called on the government and the House of Representatives (DPR) to immediately ratify the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence (RUU PKS).
This is because the RUU contains stipulations on nine forms of sexual violence, one of which is sexual harassment whether it is physical or non-physical.
In addition to this, the draft acknowledges victim’s testimony, electronic information as evidence and provides an opportunity for victims to be able to fulfill the conditions for prosecution.
“Currently there is no way to handle cases of verbal sexual harassment because this requires physical evidence, yet sexual harassment can also be done verbally. So we are pushing on this so that victims will not be criminalised”, added Perempuan Mahardika member Vivi Widyawati.
Nevertheless, Widyawati said that support by their group for Nuril is limited to building a campaign against sexual harassment and is not yet directed towards collecting funds for the legal case or to pay the fine against Nuril.
“Currently we are still gathering support from other women workers”, she said.
Earlier, Widodo invited Nuril to submit a plea for amnesty after the Supreme Court rejected her appeal. Widodo said that if Nuril submits and appeal then he will discuss it first with the Minister for Justice and Human Rights, the Attorney General and the Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs.
“[She] can (appeal for amnesty) as quickly as possible”, said Widodo.
Nevertheless, he declined to comment further on the case. “I don’t want to comment on what has been decided by the court, because this is the domain of the judiciary. Yes, if later it comes to my desk, then it’s my authority”, he said. (stu)
[Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “LSM Perempuan Tagih Amnesti Jokowi untuk Baiq Nuril”.]