Indonesian Court Convicts Woman Of Criminal Defamation For Recording Her Boss Trying To Harass Her Into An Affair With Him

from the we've-heard-the-complaints-and-move-to-prosecute-the-person-harmed dept

Let's hear it for prosecutorial discretion!

A school bookkeeper in Indonesia who recorded her boss’s lewd phone call as proof she was being harassed must serve at least six months in prison for distributing obscene material, the country’s Supreme Court has ruled.

[...]

Her boss, who goes by the single name Muslim, as is common in Indonesia, was the principal at Senior High School Seven in Mataram, Lombok’s largest city. Ms. Nuril recorded him using explicit language and hounding her to have an affair. He was never punished for harassing her and instead has been promoted repeatedly.

To be fair, we have to consider the extremely unfair political/human rights atmosphere in Indonesia, where women are expected to put up with sexual harassment and sexual assault if they expect to hold onto their jobs. And this definitely is a case of prosecutorial discretion -- a case in which prosecutors decided to press charges against the person who recorded evidence of workplace harassment, rather than the government employee who harassed her.

This recording was shared with others, who then shared it with other people. Once enough people had heard it, the asshole known only by the name "Muslim" decided to file a complaint. This prosecution for criminal defamation -- that is, Muslim claimed he was defamed by a recording of him saying and doing harassing things -- has led to a six month jail sentence and a $35,000 fine. If the fine isn't paid, it's two more months in jail for the harassment victim.

But let's not get carried away with feeling better about living in an open society like ours in the US of A, land of the free and begrudging proponent of civil rights. We hear a lot of talk here about "prosecutorial discretion," especially when bad laws are being written, passed, or enforced. Our prosecutors tend to believe they're tough but fair and possessors of hearts of gold, but we looooove to punish victims just as much as more "backwards" societies.

On multiple occasions, prosecutors have levied child porn production charges against teens who have sent naked photos of themselves to other teens. If that charge can't be made to stick, prosecutors labor long and hard to find some way to stick stupid teens with lifetime sex offender labels simply for doing stupid teen things like sexting.

Our prosecutors also punish victims of school violence and harassment. In at least one case, a bullied student who recorded his bullies was hit with criminal charges for trying to document these attacks by other students. School administrators have also called the cops on students who surreptitiously record conversations with school officials, claiming these violate state wiretap ordinances.

The fine people in law enforcement have, for years, abused state wiretapping laws to punish bystanders for recording abusive police behavior. And there are dozens of cases of negligent homicide generated every year that punish crime victims for being the victims of crime. Our prosecutors will even charge a mother for "killing" an infant, when it was actually an off-duty cop doing double the speed limit blowing through a red light and demolishing the minivan containing the now-dead infant.

Are we really better than other countries that treat perpetrators of sexual oppression as "victims" of crimes? Maybe. But not by much. We may have a better system of recourse, but the qualified immunity doctrine has allowed many perpetrators of crimes and rights violations to walk away untouched from allegations of abuse and misconduct.

No, this is an institutional problem all over the world. The phrase "prosecutorial discretion" can routinely be taken to mean "the stupidest, most-abusive prosecutions" will result from any law that can be twisted to serve government employees who choose to behave badly.

Filed Under: defamation, free speech, indonesia, sexual harassment


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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Dewey T. 'Duty Calls' McCall, 10 Jul 2019 @ 9:04pm

    From the lead-with-foreign-outrage-then-attack-the-US dept.

    This is one of Techdirt's favorite ploys.

    Now, it's valid up to a point. I use it: am against surveillance by China AND by the US. That's consistent, see?

    But just this week, one minion claims Russian gov't interfered in elections beyond what knew -- when what's KNOWN according to a Federal judge same day is ZERO; minion's opinion is wrong -- and minion overlooks US interference in other countries up to declaring war and invading based on fabricated excuse. That's totally inconsistent on the topic.

    Leftists / liberals / neo-liberals / corporatists / Techdirt NEVER criticize the US for actual crimes like the ongoing wars of empire, because those are not coincidentally against Israel's chosen enemies. I'm consistently anti-war, period.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Dewey T. 'Duty Calls' McCall, 10 Jul 2019 @ 9:05pm

      Re: From the lead-with-foreign-outrage-then-attack-the-US dept.

      (seems to be length limit of late forcing me to break comments...)

      Here is just crude anti-Americanism that denies the US is any good at all: start with one topic, then jump without transition to attack the US as actually even worse for everyday and semi-reasonable laws.

      The constant parts are that Russia is a declared enemy of the US empire, so the one minion attacks Russia.

      But leftists of all kinds just plain hate the US, and that's why this minion brings up Indonesia then twists it to attack America even more.

      Leftists / Zionists / Techdirt are in fact consistent.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2019 @ 10:11pm

      Re: From the blues an ignorant motherfucker department

      Fuck off anti-Semite.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2019 @ 10:56pm

      Re:

      I use it: am against surveillance by China AND by the US.

      HAHAHAHA - oh wait, you were serious? Let me laugh even harder.

      Techdirt NEVER criticize the US for actual crimes like the ongoing wars of empire, because those are not coincidentally against Israel's chosen enemies

      Yeah, how is it that we never see you blame ya boi Trump for that, eh? Hmmm? Oh, that's right. You won't blame Trump because he gave you FOSTA, wrapped up in a ribbon with a hooker and blow on the side.

      Shiva Ayyadurai still didn't invent email, blue.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 10 Jul 2019 @ 9:08pm

    If you're going to be an ass, at least be an honest one

    This prosecution for criminal defamation -- that is, Muslim claimed he was defamed by a recording of him saying and doing harassing things -- has led to a six month jail sentence and a $35,000 fine. If the fine isn't paid, it's two more months in jail for the harassment victim.

    Let's be honest, her real 'crime' was 'making a male look bad by exposing how big of an asshole he was/is', they just aren't honest enough to admit that, and there's likely a hefty dose of example making so that the next woman who might have the utter gall to expose a scum-bag thinks twice before trying it, lest they face the same penalty.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2019 @ 5:37am

      Re: If you're going to be an ass, at least be an honest one

      Perhaps they could have taken advice from the one sometimes called "a prophet of Islam" - John 8:7

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2019 @ 6:11am

        Re: Re: If you're going to be an ass, at least be an honest one

        Perhaps they could have taken advice from the one sometimes called "a prophet of Islam" - John 8:7

        Stones - and glass houses - are a major point in this article.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 11 Jul 2019 @ 12:04pm

      Re: If you're going to be an ass, at least be an honest one

      A solution to Crimes against Women in the Mulim world..

      INVITE them to the USA..
      We can then have them Write up all the Crap they are going threw. And publish it freely...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 10 Jul 2019 @ 9:21pm

    Keep your mouth shut, I guess

    I guess she would have been better off paying someone to off him.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2019 @ 10:50pm

    Sounds like Indo, but damn. There are so many things wrong with that case right there. (And a lot of other places, with slightly different flavorings.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    TRX, 11 Jul 2019 @ 5:00am

    unfair

    In the USA, truth is considered an absolute defense against defamation.

    In Britain and much of the Commonwealth (and Indonesia was once British) it doesn't work that way; even if the accusations are true, you can still sue for damages.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      MathFox, 11 Jul 2019 @ 5:27am

      Indonesia used to be a Dutch overseas territory for some centuries, until WWII. So while your analysis may be based upon wrong assumptions, the conclusion is correct: In Dutch law too, publication of true defaming facts can be criminal slander or libel.

      It looks like 'Muslim' has quite some influence (or used his money) on the prosecutor to get this criminal case started. Whether this is a bad application of prosecutorial discretion or plain corruption remains to be seen.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2019 @ 5:06am

    To be fair, we have to consider the extremely unfair political/human rights atmosphere in Indonesia, where women are expected to put up with sexual harassment and sexual assault if they expect to hold onto their jobs.

    No, women in that country --as well as the rest of the Islamic world-- are expected to stay at home and be good wives and mothers. Those who dare to venture out are basically just "asking for it" and the men are simply filling their unspoken request.

    The article doesn't get into why she recorded those conversations. It's because women are not to be believed, especially when they make accusations against high-ranking men. But at least men in Muslim countries are honest and open about their disdain for women, unlike say, Hollywood, where countless Harvey Weinsteins pretend to be caring, progressive feminists in public, major donors to feminist causes, and other virtue-signaling red herrings, while doing the exact opposite behind closed doors.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2019 @ 7:01am

    sharia law suuuuuucks

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    crade (profile), 11 Jul 2019 @ 7:02am

    It doesn't change the point any but:

    She actually wasn't convicted of criminal defamation according to the article you linked, the court tossed out the criminal defamation charge, but convicted her for "distributing obscene materials" instead.

    "Eventually, prosecutors rejected the defamation complaint but charged her with distributing obscene material."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2019 @ 7:11am

    so, this poor bitch was supposed to just drop her pants and allow herself to be screwed by her boss, for as long as he wanted, in an illicit affair or be put into prison? what the hell is happening in this world, not just in Indonesia, to allow this sort of thing? basically, the government is saying it's ok for a woman to be raped but if she struggles or refuses, she'll be locked up! how in God's name can that be right?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Thad (profile), 11 Jul 2019 @ 8:15am

    Gavin McInnes: "Damn, I should have sued in Indonesia."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Agammamon, 11 Jul 2019 @ 11:19am

    "To be fair, we have to consider the extremely unfair political/human rights atmosphere in Indonesia. . . "

    No. No we don't. What the fuck? Are you trying to justify this? Is this some sort of moral relativism I'm being expected to engage in here? 'Oh, its not as bad as it looks because their culture is different"?

    Because 'to be fair' is what you write before you go on to provide some balance from the other side's view.

    "Are we really better than other countries that treat perpetrators of sexual oppression as "victims" of crimes? Maybe. But not by much."

    Oh yeah. Because when you're faced with a choice between living in the United States and Indonesia, its so close as to basically be a toss-up as to which one is worse.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 11 Jul 2019 @ 12:17pm

    Need to fix..??

    "No, women in that country --as well as the rest of the Islamic world-- are expected to stay at home and be good wives and mothers. "

    Dont quite work..
    No' women in that country ---are expected to stay at home and be good wives and mothers..????

    There have been other religions that were Kinda that way, but upon reading into them it was found that the women HAD protections...It was that the MEN did not allow them.

    https://centerforinquiry.org/blog/islam-and-womens-rights/
    interesting discussion..

    16: 97 “Anyone who works righteousness, male or female, while believing, we will surely grant them a happy life in this world, and we will surely pay them their full recompense for their righteous works.”

    40: 40 “Whoever commits a sin is required for just that, and whoever works righteousness – male or female – while believing, these will enter paradise wherein they receive provision without any limits.”

    3: 195 “Their Lord responded to the: “I never fail to reward any worker among you for any work you do, be you male or female, you are equal to one another¦.”

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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