Supreme Court Shock Guilty Verdict in Prita Mulyasari

Two years after Prita Mulyasari, a mother of three from Tangerang, was first detained for supposedly defaming an upscale hospital, and after three times having courts find in her favor, the Supreme Court has upheld an appeal and found her guilty.

The 34-year-old has faced a roller-coaster legal battle that started in mid-2008 when Tangerang’s Omni International Hospital reported her for libel for sending e-mails critical of its service to 20 friends.

Although the e-mails were meant to be private, Omni sued Prita in a civil case at the Tangerang District Court, winning Rp 312 million ($37,000). Prita appealed the decision to the Banten High Court, which cut the damages to Rp 204 million, before appealing to the Supreme Court, which quashed it altogether.

At the same time, however, she was tried in a criminal libel case. This time, the Tangerang court threw out prosecutors’ preliminary arguments and later acquitted her during the trial proper. Prosecutors appealed this ruling, and it was this appeal that the Supreme Court upheld on Friday in a ruling posted on its Web site.

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