Unjustly sentenced sexual harassment victim seeks presidential amnesty

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Baiq Nuril, accompanied by her attorney and parliement member Rieke Diah Pitaloka, gives a letter directly requesting the revocation of the sentence to the Attorney General Prasetyo. photo: IO/Ramdani)

IO, Jakarta – Tired of being constantly sexually harassed by her supervisor named “Muslim”, the principal of National High School 7 in Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara, Baiq Nuril Maknun recorded one of his lewd calls as evidence of the harassment. However, in the effort to defend herself, she now finds herself a convicted criminal in a case of “distribution of immoral conversation”, a violation of the Electronic Information and Transaction Law (Undang-undang Informasi dan Transaksi Elektronik – “UU ITE”) after the Supreme Court sentenced her with 6 months of imprisonment and a fine of Rp 500 million. The cessation judgment was strengthened at Case Review (Peninjauan Kembali – “PK”) level.

Baiq Nuril did not distribute the harassment call. She only allowed her husband and a fellow teacher to listen to the conversation, in order to prove to them that she was not making things up. It is strongly suspected that it was the latter one who distributed the immoral harassment through electronic devices. The case, which occurred in 2012, ended with a legal judgment before 2015. Long before she was formally incarcerated, temporary teacher Baiq was unilaterally fired by Muslim and kept under arrest for a month during the investigation.

Baiq Nuril, a victim of both sexual harassment and unfair labor practices, attempted to fight and took the case all the way to the Supreme Court. However, the panel of judges all refused her petition for review. Her imprisonment would even be extended if her family fails to collect the money to pay her fines. As a victim, Baiq Nuril only wants justice for the attacks and crimes against her. Now, her only hope is for an amnesty from President Joko Widodo. Therefore, Baiq Nuril submitted the 242,000 signatures on her petition from both individuals and agencies 132 to the Attorney General’s Office, as well as a recommendation for amnesty from the House of Representatives of the Republic of Indonesia (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Republik Indonesia – “DPR RI”) and the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights. She was seeking to have the judgment against her cancelled.

Baiq Nuril, accompanied by her legal counsel, DPR member Rieke Diah Pitaloka, directly submitted the Petition for the Delay of Execution of Court Judgment to Attorney General Prasetyo. They have drafted this Petition after the Supreme Court rejected the PK (Judicial review) for the Cessation of Nuril’s case. “The ladies have requested that we do not execute the judgment of Baiq Nuril’s case yet,” Prasetyo stated at the Attorney General’s Office in Jakarta on Friday (12/07/2019). Baiq Nuril burst into tears relieved when she heard Attorney General Prasetyo accepted her Petition for the Delay of Execution of Court Judgment. “I am so relieved. Just now the Attorney General has decided not to execute the judgment against me,” she said amid her tears.

Prasetyo stated that he has ordered the High Prosecutor’s Office of the West Nusa Tenggara not to execute Nuril’s sentence. He further guaranteed that Nuril’s sentence will not be executed. The Attorney General’s Office would not execute the sentence in a hurry even though the legal process is already final. “When we speak of normal conditions, it is true that inkracht judgments, judgments with permanent legal standing, must be executed by their proper executor, the executor being the State Prosecutor. I have told the Head of the High Prosecutor’s Office in the West Nusa Tenggara to refrain from executing the judgment just yet,” Prasetyo said.

Other than pinning her hopes on delayed execution, Baiq Nuril has also made efforts to ask President Joko Widodo for amnesty from the sentence against her. She hopes that the amnesty will be granted during Indonesia’s Independence Day Celebrations on 17 August 2019. In this way, Nuril will be at peace, as she could watch over her daughter, who has become a member of the National Flag Hoisting Troop (Pasukan Pengibar Bendera Pusaka – “Paskibraka”) on the upcoming Independence Day celebrations at the Presidential Palace. In this case, Prasetyo stated that it is very likely that President Jokowi will grant Baiq Nuril her amnesty. However, that still remains the President’s prerogative. “The only thing to do now is wait for Pak President. I know for sure that when I reported this case to him, he would grant the amnesty,” he said.

Separately, the President’s Chief of Staff Moeldoko, who has received Baiq Nuril’s Petition for Amnesty, stated that the Petition will be delivered to the DPR as quickly as possible. He stated that Baiq Nuril’s Petition for Amnesty is a humanitarian issue, and he hopes that Jokowi’s amnesty can be granted smoothly. Other than Baiq Nurul’s own Petition for Amnesty, Moeldoko has also received a petition from the people containing more than 300,000 signatures requesting the same thing. “In the morning, I have received Ibu Baiq Nuril and members of the community who have collected support for her amnesty. The Petition was signed by 300,000 petitioners. Ibu Nuril has also delivered a letter meant to strengthen Pak President Jokowi’s goodwill in granting the amnesty,” Moeldoko said at the Presidential Staff’s Office in Central Jakarta.

Minister of Justice and Human Rights Yasonna Laoly has officially submitted the Recommendation for Granting Amnesty to Baiq Nuril to President Joko Widodo. This Recommendation from the Minister to the President is being processed. With the completion of the review process at the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, there are no more debates relating to the validity of the amnesty, as the basis for this Recommendation has been discussed and reviewed with a number of legal experts. “We have submitted our Recommendation to Pak President through the State Secretary. However, there is a view that such amnesty should be granted to crimes relating to political issues only,” Yasonna said at the House of Representatives’ (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat – “DPR”) Building in Senayan, Jakarta.

On the other hand, President Jokowi stated that he has yet to process amnesty for Baiq Nuril, as he has not received the Recommendation for Amnesty until this article is created. “It has not arrived at my desk,” he said after attending the Indonesian Creative Works (Karya Kreatif Indonesia – “KKI”) Exhibition at the Jakarta Convention Center (“JCC”), Senayan, Jakarta. Jokowi stated firmly that when the Ministerial Recommendation has arrived at his desk, he would make a decision. “I will decide as quickly as possible. I will resolve this as soon as possible,” he said. (Dan)