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Monday, April 15, 2024

Indonesian woman jailed for reporting boss’s lewd calls

News Desk |

Nuril Maknum, an Indonesian woman jailed after reporting sexual harassment. Maknum alleged that she received lewd calls from the principal of the school where she worked at, who forced her to establish inappropriate relations with him.

Maknum will serve six months of imprisonment on the charges of distributing obscene content, which, according to the latest Indonesian laws on pornography, is a severe crime. Maknum recorded the calls to prove that she was being sexually harassed.

Her allegations against her boss date back to 2012-2013 when the accused, whose name is Muslim, took over the charge of the school as a principal. She worked as a part-time book-keeper at a high school in Mataram, the largest city on the island. The principal rumored that the two were having an affair.

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She recorded one of the telephone calls in which the head teacher made sexual and abusive comments. To refute his claims, she shared the recording with her husband and colleague at school. The recordings were distributed among the staff at the school and submitted to the head of a local education agency.

When Muslim became aware of the recordings, he filed a case of defamation against her, through which she was arrested and jailed for a month. She was initially cleared of the charges in a bid to expose the man’s lecherous behavior. The prosecutors, however, appealed in the Supreme Court which overturned the decision of her acquittal from the lower court.

She is sentenced to six months of imprisonment and fined for 500 million rupiahs ($35,383). The court dismissed her appeal to review the decision on Thursday. Her legal counsel hopes to get amnesty from Indonesian President Joko Widodo since the apex court decision can’t be overturned.

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Nevertheless, her lawyers say they do not want a pardon because their client has not committed a crime. Injustice to Nuril Maknum has sparked strong reactions from the women’s rights advocates in Indonesia.

“We are concerned about the impact of this decision because it opens a door for perpetrators of sexual violence to criminalize victims,” said Ade Wahyudin, executive director of the Legal Aid Foundation for the Press.