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Surabaya court acquits woman in UU ITE lawsuit over online complaint against beauty clinic

Coconuts Jakarta - December 15, 2021

Proponents of freedom of speech celebrated a rare victory against the tool of oppression that is the Information and Electronic Transactions Act (UU ITE), after the Surabaya District Court sided with the defendant in a slander case over her online complaint against a beauty clinic.

The court yesterday acquitted 26-year-old Stella Monica of slander charges under UU ITE. Had she been convicted, she would have been sent to prison for one year.

"Thank you to all my friends and those who supported me. I trusted that the judges have the conscience and drive for justice for me, after I have been criminalized for two years by the clinic," a tearful Stella said to reporters following her innocent verdict.

In 2019, Stella took to Instagram to air her grievances over inflammations on her skin following months of treatment at a beauty clinic in the East Java capital. In one post, she alleged that doctors at the clinic are general practitioners and not skincare specialists, which would explain her worsening skin condition despite spending millions of rupiah for treatment.

Her posts invited further similar criticism from her peers against the beauty clinic. After taking notice of the posts, the clinic sued Stella in early 2020 after she failed to comply with their expensive request to take out half a page of a local newspaper for an apology.

Numerous petitions demanding justice for Stella were launched following the lawsuit, with critics of UU ITE noting that the case represents just another example of the law being wielded as a tool to silence criticism against those in power or the financially privileged.

Others haven't been so lucky against UU ITE. Earlier this year, a woman in Aceh was imprisoned after she recorded an incriminating video of her village head. Amid trying circumstances, the woman was also forced to bring her six-month-old baby to prison, prompting public outrage over the numerous counts of injustice in her case.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/surabaya-court-acquits-woman-in-uu-ite-lawsuit-over-online-complaint-against-beauty-clinic