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Makassar blogger arrested, flown to Jakarta, released after jobs law tweet

Jakarta Post - October 11, 2020

Andi Hajramurni, Makassar – A 36-year-old blogger from Makassar, South Sulawesi, was arrested on Friday for allegedly tweeting false information about the recently passed Job Creation Law but was later released because of a lack of evidence, one of her lawyers said.

The National Police arrested Videlya Esmerella after she posted a thread on Twitter discussing 12 articles purportedly included in the law that she said would disadvantage workers.

In a press conference on Friday, National Police spokesperson Insp. Gen. Argo Yuwono said the blogger's tweets contained false information and accused her of violating Articles 14 and 15 of the 1946 Criminal Law, which prohibit spreading false information that could cause a public disturbance and carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Argo claimed the blogger wrote the tweets because she was upset that she was unemployed.

The 12 articles Videlya tweeted about do not appear in the latest draft of the law seen by the Post, but the final text of the law has yet to be made public.

Videlya was reportedly released by the police on Friday evening. She returned to Makassar early on Saturday morning.

Azis Dumpa, a Makassar lawyer who assisted Videlya, confirmed the news. "She was released by the police since they did not have enough evidence to charge her," Azis said.

Azis said the accusations against Videlya were baseless because the content of her tweets had been in wide circulation for days before she posted the thread, indicating that it did not originate with her.

"The articles have been circulating everywhere on social media. The police were just looking for a scapegoat to make it seem like there was an actor who orchestrated protests against the jobs law, even though it was purely conducted by civilians," Azis said, adding that objections to the omnibus law had been appearing for months.

Azis said he suspected the police had forced the case and had exaggerated the scale of the situation because Videlya was arrested in Makassar and quickly flown to Jakarta without a summons.

Argo and National Police public information bureau head Brig. Gen. Awi Setiyono did not immediately respond to the Post's requests for comment. (dpk/trn)

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/10/11/makassar-blogger-arrested-flown-to-jakarta-released-after-jobs-law-tweet.html