Apriadi Gunawan, Medan – Prosecutors at the Medan District Court in North Sumatra are seeking two years of prison for defendant Febi Nur Amalia, who is on trial for defamation for demanding on Instagram that the wife of a police officer repay a debt of Rp 70 million (US$4,763).
Prosecutor Randi Tambunan argued that the 29-year-old had no right to "slander" Fitriani Manurung, who filed the case against Febi, in her attempt to collect the debt on social media.
Randi said the defendant's actions violated articles 27 and 45 of the Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law. The articles carry a maximum punishment of six years in prison and a fine of Rp 1 billion.
"We hereby demand that the panel of judges sentence the defendant to two years in prison," Randi told the court.
When the judges asked the defendant to respond, she said, "I feel the demand is not proper."
Presiding judge Sri Wahyuni Batubara gave the defendant and her legal advisor two weeks to prepare a defense statement.
The case started in December 2016 when Fitriani, who is the wife of a local police senior commissioner, reportedly borrowed Rp 70 million from Febi, her friend, a resident of the Menteng Indah complex in Medan.
In 2017, Febi allegedly tried to collect the debt several times but to no avail. Fitriani reportedly blocked Febi's phone number.
Febi sent a direct message to Fitriani's Instagram account in early 2019 to ask for the money, but Fitriani said she did not recognize her. She then allegedly blocked Febi's account for a second time.
Febi then posted an Instagram story using her handle @feby25052 and tagged Fitriani. It read, "I suddenly remembered the wife of a police senior commissioner who hasn't paid her debt to me, 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."
In a previous hearing, Febi claimed to have strong evidence of Fitriani's debt. Febi said Fitriani had asked for the money to buy a bag for the wife of a senior National Police officer.
Fitriani has denied having a debt to Febi. She claimed the money was not transferred to her account but to her husband's. Fitriani said the Instagram post had harmed her. (syk)