Asia-Pacific

Indonesia pardons woman sentenced to jail for exposing boss' sexual harassment

Indonesia's parliament approved an amnesty for Baiq Nuril Maknun (c) after the Supreme Court had rejected her appeal. Source: AAP

Indonesia’s parliament granted amnesty for a woman who was jailed after recording lewd phone calls from her boss, in a case that sparked fears that it could discourage other victims of sexual abuse from speaking out.

An Indonesian woman sentenced to six months in jail for exposing her lecherous boss has won a parliamentary pardon after the case sparked an outcry over the victim's rights.

Loud applause broke out in the House of Representatives on Thursday as politicians unanimously voted to quash the prison sentence handed to Baiq Nuril Maknun over a recording she made of her former employer's sexual harassment.

The mother-of-three, who was in the chamber, broke down in tears at the decision - her last hope to avoid prison after exhausting other avenues of appeal.

Baiq Nuril Maknu hugs her son after being granted an amnesty by Indonesia President Joko Widodo.
Baiq Nuril Maknu hugs her son after being granted an amnesty by Indonesia President Joko Widodo.
AAP

Rights groups had condemned the sentence and the high-profile case sparked fears it would discourage victims of sexual harassment from speaking out in the conservative Muslim majority nation.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who also expressed concerns about the woman's sentence, was expected to sign off on the pardon.

"The path is clear to grant Nuril an amnesty, and the President should act immediately," Amnesty International said in a statement. 

"This would be a historic victory for victims of sexual abuse in Indonesia," it added, saying Ms Maknun had suffered an "immense injustice".

In 2015, Ms Maknun's boss - the principal of the high school where she worked - reported her to the police for defaming him after a recording she made of him making sexual comments went viral on social media.

She was later fired and charged under a law against spreading indecent material, which has been criticised for being too vague and open to misuse.

A local court on the island of Lombok, next to holiday hotspot Bali, initially cleared her of the charges.

But prosecutors pursued the case and Indonesia's top court reversed the lower court decision and upheld the sentence. 

Earlier this month, the supreme court threw out her appeal against its ruling.

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