Jakarta – The Bali Police have named musician I Gede Ari Astina, better known as Jerinx, a suspect for defaming the Indonesian Medical Association (IDI).
Bali Police special criminal investigation head Sr. Comr. Yuliar Kus Nugroho said that his unit had detained Jerinx for questioning and had gathered enough evidence to declare him a suspect.
"[The evidence] fulfills the criteria for defamation, insult and inciting hostility against the IDI according to the ITE [2008 Electronic Information and Transactions] Law," Yuliar said on Wednesday as quoted by kompas.com.
The IDI's Bali branch had reported Jerinx – the drummer of the Bali-based punk rock band Superman Is Dead – to the police on June 16 after the musician accused the association of being "flunkeys" of the World Health Organization in a post on his Instagram account.
"Because they're proud of being the WHO's flunkeys, the IDI and hospitals arbitrarily mandated that anyone who is about to give birth be tested for COVID-19," Jerinx wrote on his Instagram account, @jrxsid, on June 13. "There is so much evidence that the test results are inaccurate, so why force it? If the test causes stress or death for the baby or mother, who will take responsibility?"
Even before the post, Jerinx had repeatedly voiced his distrust of medical experts, particularly the IDI and the WHO, and endorsed various conspiracy theories surrounding the epidemic.
In an interview with local broadcaster KompasTV in May, for instance, he claimed that the number of people infected by the coronavirus was manipulated to be larger than it actually is.
He has also accused "the global elite", including United States billionaire Bill Gates, of being behind the pandemic and has publicly supported former health minister and graft convict Siti Fadilah Supari, who has voiced similar suspicions about the Microsoft cofounder.
Jerinx has also ignored authorities and health experts' calls for social distancing and mask wearing, including when he participated in a rally in late July to protest COVID-19 test requirements for travel in Bali.
Jerinx is not the only musician to find himself in hot water over his remarks on COVID-19.
The Jakarta Police also recently questioned singer/songwriter Erdian Aji Prihartanto, popularly known as Anji, who was reported for allegedly spreading false information after he published an interview on YouTube with Hadi Pranoto, who claimed to have found a cure for COVID-19. In the video, Anji introduced Hadi as a microbiology professor, before later retracting the claim. (mfp)