Indonesia: Teacher jailed for 'recording sex threats' from school principal

An Indonesian high school teacher who has been jailed for recording abusive phone calls from her principal must be released, Amnesty International said today.

After the Supreme Court yesterday decided to sentence Baiq Nuril Maknun to six months imprisonment and a fine on charges of ‘violating decency’ under the Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law, Usman Hamid, Amnesty International Indonesia’s Executive Director, said:

“This absurd ruling by the Supreme Court appears to jail someone just for documenting the abuse they were subjected to from their employer.

“Unsolicited, sexually explicit and abusive telephone calls would constitute sexual harassment and should be investigated as a priority, with charges brought accordingly. It is a travesty that while the victim of the alleged abuse has been convicted for recording this call, little if any action appears to have been taken by the authorities to investigate what appear to be credible claims.

“This verdict also shows, yet again, the ITE Law being used repressively. Its vague definitions of defamation, blasphemy and in this case ‘sharing information violating decency’, have routinely been used in abusive ways – often to silence freedom of expression.

“In this case, it appears a woman was criminalised simply for taking steps to redress the abuse she experienced. Nuril must be freed, and the ITE law must be amended.”

Yesterday, the Supreme Court ordered a jail term of six months for high school teacher Baiq Nuril Maknun under the ITE law for ‘sharing information violating decency’, overturning an earlier verdict from the Mataram State court that had cleared Nuril of all charges. The Supreme Court also imposed a fine of approximately £26,000.

Nuril recorded one of several telephone calls from her school principal during which he was alleged to have made sexually explicit and abusive comments. The recording was distributed among school staff and an acquaintance of Nuril’s submitted it to the head of the local education agency, leading to the school principal’s reassignment to a position inside the agency itself. The recording also went viral on social media.

The school principal later reported Nuril to the police for distributing the recording of their conversation.

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