Supreme Court Clears Prita of Libel Charges
The Supreme Court on Monday overruled a defamation verdict handed down to Prita Mulyasari over an e-mail that was originally deemed a violation of the Law on Electronic Information and Transaction.
In the verdict that was issued on Monday, a Supreme Court panel of judges acquitted Prita of all charges of defamation, and ordered the complete rehabilitation of her good name by the prosecutor’s office.
“This ruling annulled the [Tangerang district] court ruling and appeal ruling issued by the Supreme Court,” Supreme Court Spokesman Ridwan Mansyur said on Monday, as quoted by Tempo.co.
Presiding Justice Djoko Sarwoko along with several other judges agreed that the e-mail sent by Prita, who was accused of defaming Omni International Hospital, should not be categorized as libelous.
Thirty-five-year-old Prita’s plight was quickly taken up by the public, and an online support campaign led to a popular nationwide fundraising effort to raise money for Prita’s legal fees.
Prita originally received a six-month suspended prison sentence from the Supreme Court for violating the Law on Electronic Information and Transaction, a verdict that directly contradicted the same court’s earlier acquittal in a related civil case in July 2009.
Lawmaker Eva Kusuma Sundari, a member of House Commission III overseeing legal affairs, hailed the appeal as “fair” on Tuesday.
“The verdict of this case review shows that the Supreme Court has rightly defended the rights in a formal understanding, based on legal and material evidence,” Eva said. “From early on we all knew that Prita was not guilty.”
Eva said to prevent similar cases from occurring in the future, law enforcement needed “a high level of integrity,” to produce comprehensive laws that provided protection for the public.
“The laws are aimed at strengthening human rights protection for the people, so that these very rights do not put the people at a disadvantage,” Eva said.
Prita and the hospital could not be immediately reached for comment.
However, Kompas newspaper quoted Prita as being grateful for the Supreme Court ruling, adding that she hopes “there will be no one meddling with my life and that of my family anymore.”