Apriadi Gunawan, Medan, North Sumatra – A 29-year-old resident of North Sumatra, Febi Nur Amelia, has been charged with defamation for attempting to ask for her money back from Fitriani Manurung, her friend who happens to be the wife of a police officer, through Instagram.
Fitriani subsequently reported her friend to the North Sumatra Police, accusing Febi of insulting her. Febi underwent her first hearing at the Medan District Court on Tuesday.
Prosecutor Randy Tambunan said that the defendant had intentionally distributed electronic information defaming the plaintiff.
Febi has been charged with violating articles 45 and 27 on defamation of the Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law. They carry a maximum punishment of six years in prison and a fine of Rp 1 billion (US$71,884).
The case dates back to December 2016 when Fitriani reportedly borrowed some Rp 70 million from Febi. In 2017, the latter tried to collect the debt but to no avail. Fitriani blocked Febi's phone number.
Febi sent a direct massage to Fitriani's Instagram account sometime in 2019 to ask for the money, but Fitriani said she did not recognize her. She blocked Febi's account for a second time.
Febi then posted on Instagram saying "I suddenly remember the wife of a police officer who has yet to pay my money, amounting to Rp 70 million for years @Fitri_Bakhtiar. I would easily let the money go if the debtor was poor, but it's different in this case because the debtor herself is rich. So, I have to claim the money back."
Randy said the post, made in February 2019, had insulted the plaintiff, while the defendant claimed she posted it in an attempt to get the money back. Febi planned to read out an "exception" before the judges next week.
Law expert at North Sumatra University Edi Yunara said the case seemed to be a bit odd since it had gone straight to court before the plaintiff was even subpoenaed. "I am afraid it may have happened because the plaintiff is a police officer's wife," Edi said. (vny)