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USU lecturer gets suspended sentence for hate speech

Jakarta Post - May 25, 2019

Apriadi Gunawan, Medan – Medan District Court in North Sumatra sentenced on Thursday University of North Sumatra (USU) lecturer Himma Dewiyana Lubis to a year in prison suspended for two years for spreading hatred via her Facebook account.

The panel of judges also fined the 45-year-old lecturer Rp 10 million ($695).

Presiding judge Riana Pohan said Himma was found guilty of violating articles 28 and 45A of Law No 19/2016 on electronic information and transaction (ITE).

Riana said the defendant had intentionally, and without any justification, spread information that incited hatred based on ethnicity, religion, race or societal groups (SARA).

"[The panel of judges] sentence the defendant to one year's imprisonment suspended for two years and a fine of Rp 10 million," Riana said reading out the verdict on Thursday.

Riana said that during the two years of probation if the defendant committed another crime then she would be sent to prison for a year and pay the Rp 10 million fine or an additional three months' imprisonment.

Responding to the verdict, the defendant's lawyer Rina Melati said they had yet to decide whether or not they would appeal.

"We will be cooling down first. We are still considering it," Rina told The Jakarta Post after the hearing.

Himma, a lecturer in USU's School of Cultural Sciences, was tried after she posted on her Facebook account "Skenario pengalihan yang sempurna #2019GantiPresiden" (A perfect diversion scenario #2019ChangePresident) and "Ini dia pemicunya Sodara, Kitab Al-Quran dibuang" (This is the trigger: The Quran has been discarded) on May 12, 2018.

Her post went viral on social media and officers from the North Sumatra police's cybercrime sub-directorate arrested her on May 17 last year.

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/05/25/usu-lecturer-gets-suspended-sentence-for-hate-speech.html