Indonesian woman jailed for sharing boss's 'harassment' calls

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Baiq Nuril Maknun is sentenced to six months in prison for violating a controversial law against spreading indecent material in November 2018Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Baiq Nuril Maknun lodged a judicial review with the Supreme Court

Indonesia's top court has rejected an appeal by a woman who was sentenced to six months in prison for recording and sharing a phone conversation she had with her boss to prove that he was sexually harassing her.

The Supreme Court said Baiq Nuril Maknun was guilty of spreading "indecent" material.

Her boss reported her to the police in 2015 after the recording was circulated.

Rights groups condemned the ruling.

Nuril had complained of getting lewd phone calls from the head teacher of the school she worked at in Mataram, a city on the island of Lombok.

She recorded one of the telephone calls in which the head teacher allegedly made sexually explicit and abusive comments. The recording was later distributed among staff at the school and submitted to the head of the local education agency. It also went viral on social media.

The head teacher - who court documents say lost his job after the recording was circulated - reported her to the police for distributing the recording of their conversation.

The Supreme Court found her guilty in November of "violating decency" under Indonesia's electronic information and transactions law. On Thursday, it dismissed her efforts to have the verdict overturned, saying she had failed to produce new evidence.

"Her judicial review was rejected because her crime has been legally and convincingly proven," court spokesman Abdullah told AFP news agency.

The court also upheld a fine of 500 million rupiah (£28,200; $35,200).

Nuril has argued that she did not distribute the recording - saying that a friend took it off her mobile phone.

Her lawyer, Joko Jumadi, told BBC Indonesian that his client was "ready to accept the verdict" of the court but that she hoped she would be the "last victim to be face criminal charges" for speaking out about sexual harassment in Indonesia.

He said that she was "relatively calm" on hearing the court's decision.

The latest ruling cannot be appealed against, but her legal team said she would ask Indonesian President Joko Widodo for amnesty.

He has previously said that he would consider a request for a pardon if she failed in her legal appeals. But her lawyers say they do not want a pardon because their client has not committed a crime.

The case has sparked outrage in Indonesia, with rights groups warning that the verdict sends a worrying message to victims of sexual harassment.

"We are concerned about the impact of this decision because it opens a door for perpetrators of sexual violence to criminalise victims," Ade Wahyudin, executive director of the Legal Aid Foundation for the Press, told Reuters news agency.