‘Criminalized’ Teacher Leaves Detention as Support Grows

The Jakarta Post, page 5

Amid mounting support for defendant Baiq Nuril Maknun, the panel of judges at the Mataram District Court in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) decided to suspend the detention of a 36-year-old high school teacher indicted for allegedly distributing a recorded telephone conversation in which she was allegedly verbally harassed by her headmaster.

During a trial hearing on Wednesday, National Commission for Wowen member Sri Nur Herawati testified that the commission had found indications of criminalization against Nuril who had been charged under the draconian 2016 Electronic Transaction and Information (ITE) Law.

Sri said after the court session that Nuril was put on trial after she tried to free herself from [verbal] sexual violence she experienced at her workplaces. The judges must allow Nuril to access her rights, therefore the detention suspension is very important. Sri also reminded the judges about the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) that had been ratified in Law No 7/1984.

Nuril burst into tears as presiding judge Albertus Husada announced the decision to suspend her detention. She received warm hugs form relatives and friends as she walked out of the courtroom. She has been detained since March when she was named a suspect by police investigating a report from her former headmaster Muslim.

Ida Made Santiadnya, Nuril’s lawyer, said it all began in 2012 when she worked as a contract employee at state-run senior high school SMAN 7 Mataram. At the time, Muslim allegedly frequently called Nuril on her cell phone and made sordid comments about his personal love affair with a woman. In 2014, a co-worker of Nuril’s copied the record and somehow it subsequently went viral. The disclosure of the alleged harassment led to Muslim being demoted. He then reported Nuril to the NTB police in 2015.

Support for Nuril mounted after news of her naming as a suspect broke. Mataram Mayor Ahyar Abduh and Deputy Mayor Mohan Roliskana once offered themselves as guarantors for Nuril’s detention suspension. NTB Education and Culture Agency Head Muhammad Suruji also said Nuril could still work in the education sector in the province.

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