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Indonesia: Email mom ‘not guilty’ says the High Court

Prita Mulyasari, a housewife who wrote an e-mail complaint against an international franchised hospital, was found not guilty of defamation by the Tangerang High Court Tuesday afternoon.

The court found Prita's e-mail a mere complaint, therefore can't be considered as an act of defamation.

Microbloggers were sending updates from the session in real time and pooling comments on Twitter through the hashtags #sidangprita (Prita's trial) and #freeprita:

Enda: http://twitpic.com/vomos – Sudah di Sidang Prita PN Tangerang. Ramai oleh media dan relawan koin #sidangprita #freeprita

Arrived here in Tangerang High Court for Prita's trial. Packed with media and Coin for Justice volunteers.

Ade_Novita:  Kita relawan koin yg hadir aja deg2an, ga kebayang perasaan prita.

Us, the volunteers, having our hearts pounding hard, we can't imagine Prita's feeling.

ndorokakung: Vonis: prita tidak terbukti melanggar hukum. Membebaskan prita dari segala dakwaan

Verdict: Prita didn't break the law. (Therefore) acquitted from all charges.

tikabanget: TEPUK TANGAN..!!! “HIDUP..!! HIDUP..!!” teriak orang-orang di #sidangprita

(they) Applaud. “Long live Prita! Long live Prita!” the entire room clamored in #sidangprita

arijuliano: Jaksa masih mau pikir2 utk mengajukan banding putusan bebas Prita #sidangprita

Prosecutor is still considering to appeal Prita's verdict

ndorokakung: Kalau jaksa banding atas putusan bebas murni itu namanya kelewatan #sidangprita

If prosecutor still wants to appeal an “acquital from all charges”, that will be outrageous.
Photo from Flickr page of enda 001

Photo from Flickr page of enda 001

A few weeks ago Banten District Court found her guilty for defaming the hospital and ordered her to pay 204 million Rupiah, around US$ 21,680 (more stories can be read here and here).

The District Court's fine triggered a mass protest through an online and offline campaign for the collection of coins by netizens and the public in general. What started as an online movement attracted many people from various walks of life and ended up to be one of the biggest mass protests this year.

According to local journal Kompas, until December 20th, donations for Prita reached 825 million Rupiah (around US$ 87,812). The donations came from all corners of the archipelago, online transfers from Indonesian overseas, even a star-studded concert.

Prita's freedom is seen by many as a victorious people power.

Marihot Purnomo wrote on Kompasiana blog:

Putusan bebas Pengadilan Negeri Tangerang terhadap Prita adalah kado hukum akhir tahun 2009. Kegembiraan dan kebahagian tidak hanya dirasakan oleh Prita saja, namun juga ikut dirasakan oleh segenap rakyat Indonesia. Kepedulian dan perhatian masyarakat sungguh luar biasa terhadap kasus ini , dan barangkali ini sejarah bagi proses hukum di negara kita.

[…]

rakyat akan tahu dan merasakan walaupun tidak langsung terlibat dalam proses-proses hukum tersebut, apabila proses hukum tersebut penuh permainan dan atau direkayasa atas permintaaan pihak2 tertentu sekedar memenuhi “seleranya” atau keinginannya,dan apalagi persoalan hukum tersebut menyentuh rasa keadilan masyarakat.

The Tangerang  High Court's verdict is like a wonderful year end present for Prita. But the joy and merriment are not only felt by Prita alone, but by Indonesian people. The care and the attention of the public are astonishing, perhaps this is a milestone of the legal process of our country.

[…]

people will know and sense (things), even though they're not directly involved in the legal process, if the legal process is full of intrigue and/or being modified to fulfill the “taste” or want of certain parties, and (people will react) especially their sensitivity towards injustice is  provoked.

A hope for a cleaner judicial system

Prita's acquital is also seen as a ray of hope for a better judicial system in the country which is currently struggling to eradicate the Judicial Mafia, a group of corrupt police officers, judges and prosecutors.

Blogger Petrus Rampisela wrote a heartfelt post to the Tangerang High Court judge:

Bukan saja palu BAPAK telah menghancurkan tembok-ketidak-adilan, tapi PALU itu telah menghancurkan perasaan frustrasi dari 250 juta rakyat indonesia.

Alangkah hebatnya Pak putusan itu, bukan saja putusan ini telah membebaskan PRITA, tapi putusan ini telah membebaskan seluruh rakyat kita dari PUTUS ASA.

[..]

Untuk MAJELIS HAKIM YANG MULIA, saya menundukkan kepala.

Not only your hammer of justice shattered the wall of injustice, that  same hammer has shattered the frustation of 250 million Indonesians.

How great your decision is, which not only freed Prita, but liberate all your people from desperation.

[…]

To the honored panel of judges, I bow to you.

Revising the cyberlaw

Prita's struggle will remain in the mind of every Indonesian bloggers. Many said that Prita's case won't be the last one to make the news. Therefore, Indonesian netizens are in the move to revise the electronic transaction and information law (UU ITE).

Article 27 subsection 3 of the Indonesian cyberlaw is infamously deemed by the public as a draconian law destined to oppress the freedom of speech.

On the same day Prita's trial took place, the Ministry of Communication and Information  Tifatul Sembiring told the press that the government has agreed to revise the cyberlaw [id] and that that the government is ready to discuss and receive inputs from the people. However, Tifatul couldn't say when exactly the law revision will begin.

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