Beritasatu Team & Telly Nathalia, Jakarta – The South Jakarta District Court sentenced stage actress and political activist Ratna Sarumpaet to two years' imprisonment on Thursday for creating and sharing fake news that caused public unrest. Prosecutors initially demanded a six-year prison term.
The conviction stems from an incident in October last year, when Ratna, who was a member of presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto's national campaign team at the time, claimed that she had been attacked by a group of unidentified men in Bandung, West Java.
She sent photos of her severely bruised and swollen face to members of Prabowo's campaign team, who posted it on social media.
This caused a public outcry, which prompted Prabowo and other senior opposition figures to publicly condemn the purported attack, which they claimed had been politically motivated. They also put pressure on the police to investigate the matter and bring the assumed perpetrators to book.
However, in their initial investigation, police discovered that Ratna had fabricated the story to hide the fact that she had undergone plastic surgery.
She subsequently held a press conference to apologize to the Indonesian public and announce her immediate resignation from Prabowo's campaign team.
She was later arrested at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, while trying to take a flight to Chile to attend an international conference. She had been detained since then. The judges did not find a specific motive behind her decision to create and spread fake news.
"We declare the suspect, Ratna Sarumpaet, guilty of having committed a crime by intentionally spreading fake news, which caused public unrest... we hereby sentence her to two years' imprisonment," said Joni, the presiding judge.
Ratna and her lawyers did not directly respond to the verdict and have seven days to consider an appeal.