Student Faces Six Years in Prison After She Complains About City on Social Media

| by Lisa Fogarty

An Indonesian student didn’t appreciate the service she received at a petrol station in the city of Yogyakarta. Like many young people, she took to a social media site and let the world know just what she thought – not just about the petrol station, but the entire town in which it is located. Her online rant may now land her in prison for six years.

Florence Sihombing, 26, is a postgraduate law student who was arrested on Saturday for posting the following message on the site Path: “Jogja is poor, stupid and uncultured. Friends in Jakarta and Bandung, please don’t stay in Jogja.”

Sihombing also reportedly posted a video of herself expressing more or less the exact same sentiment. Her video attracted a great deal of negative attention and locals from the city complained to police about it. As a result, Yogyakarta authorities arrested the young woman for allegedly breaching the Criminal Code and the 2008 Electronic Transactions and Information Law, which they say incited hatred and defamation.

Sihombing became angry with the petrol station after she reportedly attempted to jump the line of customers on scooters waiting to fill up with subsidized fuel so that she could get more expensive unsubsidized fuel. Workers at the station refused to help her, she says.

Because of her online complaining, the student could receive six years in prison. She has been released by police and is expected to return to court for her pending trial. Sihombing’s attorney claims her arrest was unlawful.

Paripurna Sugarda, the dean of the School of Law at Gadjah Mada University, says the school is seeking an apology from their student for being “rude,” but that turning this into a criminal case would not benefit Sihombing or the people of the city she insulted.

“If we make it into a criminal case, this will not only endanger her future, but also taint the image of Yogyakarta residents as belonging to a society that always forgives,” Sugarda said.

Sources: Daily Mail, The Jakarta Post

Photo Credit: Facebook