Agus Sahbani, Mahinda Arkyasa
Prita Mulyasari, a housewife who was charged with defamation by Omni International Hospital (Omni International), was declared not guilty after a review trial (peninjauan kembali) by the Supreme Court. The decision was made on Monday (17/9). It overturned the cassation decision on 30 June 2012, which sentenced Prita to six months in prison with a one-year probation period.
Prita’s case was one of the most highlighted cases in 2009 when Omni International sued Prita for defamation. Prita sent an email to two of her friends explaining the mistreatment she received at Omni International. She stated in the email that she was misdiagnosed and received poor follow-up treatment, which lacked her informed consent. She also stated that she experienced poor customer service.
Ridwan Mansyur, Head of MA’s Law and Public Relations Bureau, explained that based on new evidence presented in the case review, which was the email Prita sent to her friends, the Court found out that her action cannot be categorized as defamation, but merely as a complaint.
“The [e-mail] did not contain any form of defamation, therefore MA granted the review and declared the defendant not guilty as charged,” said Ridwan at MA on Monday (17/9).
Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) applauded MA’s decision. ICJR stated that the decision should be considered as a landmark for improving the Indonesian legal system and a historical moment for Indonesians’ freedom of expression.
ICJR asserted that the decision provided a sigh for relief for the public to openly convey their opinions, information, and expression, especially on the Internet.