Indonesia updates

Two bits of news came out today that throw up further questions about Indonesia’s legal system. Over a year ago, I mentioned a case in which an Indonesian woman, Slamet Yuwono, was sued for defamation after she’d posted negative comments on Facebook. At the time, she had won on appeal. However, now the Supreme Court has found her guilty and sentenced her to six months imprisonment. According to an interview in The Jakarta Post, her lawyer claimed:

Making a comment is everybody’s right… If that kind of regulation is implemented, there would be many Indonesians in jail because of negative comments on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

In other news, according to The Jakarta Post, President Yudhoyono issued a decree to temporarily suspend Imas Dianasari, judge allegedly caught accepting a bribe on June 30. Unilaterally suspending judges is, to say the least, an exceptional power, granted in response to concerns over the corruption in Indonesia’s judiciary. As far as I can recall, this is the first time under SBY’s administration Indonesia that the president suspended a judge (although I’m not sure on this point). It’ll be worth keeping an eye out to see how this power is used in the future.

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