Friday, 5 July 2019

41-Year-Old School Bookkeeper Jailed For 6 Months For Recording Her Boss Harassing Her In A Lewd Phone Call

Nuril Maknun, 41, a school bookkeeper in Indonesia who recorded her boss’s lewd phone call as proof that she was being harassed has been sentenced to serve at least six months in prison for distributing obscene material, the country’s Supreme Court has ruled.

The 41-year-old who worked as a part-time bookkeeper at a high school on the religiously conservative island of Lombok, said she was disappointed by the court’s ruling, which she called an “obvious injustice.” It was her final appeal in a case that has been closely followed across the country, and which became an issue during the recent presidential election.

“I, as a woman, should be protected, but then I was the one who became the victim. People should know that when we get harassed, there is no place to take refuge” she said in a telephone interview.

Her boss, who goes by the single name Muslim, as is common in Indonesia, was the principal at Senior High School Seven in Mataram, Lombok’s largest city. Ms. Nuril recorded him using explicit language and hounding her to have an affair. He was never punished for harassing her and instead has been promoted repeatedly.

The problems for Ms. Nuril, a mother of three, began in 2013 when Mr. Muslim took over as principal of the high school where she worked. He made vulgar remarks and a rumor spread that they had been carrying on an affair.

Determined to disprove the rumor, she recorded one of his calls and played it for her husband and a teacher. After learning of the recording’s existence, Mr. Muslim filed a police complaint against Ms. Nuril for criminal defamation. During the police investigation, she was arrested and jailed for a month.

Eventually, prosecutors rejected the defamation complaint but charged her with distributing obscene material. At trial, she denied distributing the recording and testified that a colleague, Imam Mudawin, downloaded it from her phone while she was in another room. But the Supreme Court sided with prosecutors, who contended that she gave Mr. Imam the indecent recording for distribution.

Her attorney, Joko Jumadi, said she would not seek a presidential pardon because she is not guilty of any crime. But the president could grant her amnesty, which would expunge her criminal record. “We stand firm that Baiq Nuril is not guilty,” he said, using a local honorific. “Even though she has to go to prison for this fight, she is ready.”

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