Woman arrested for social media comment in Wuring, East Nusa Tenggara Province

A 42-year-old woman named Sumiarti Masry was arrested by the Sikka Polres on 1 September 2022 in Wuring, Wolomarang Village, Alok District, Sikka Regency, East Nusa Tenggara Province. She was arrested for saying through her Facebook account that “traffic police (Polantas) is like ‘Ferdy Sambo”.

The Sambo case is a high-profile one. It has caught the public’s attention since July 2022. Inspector General Ferdy Sambo is the Head of the Professional and Security Division (Kadiv Propam Polri) and is the main suspect in the murder of his aide Brigadier J. This case is surrounded by obstruction of justice and confusing facts. This case also revealed Sambo’s involvement in backing the online gambling business, becoming the hottest social media issue. Sumiarti is not the first person to be arrested for commenting on Sambo. Previously, a man in Riau was also arrested for reposting content related to Ferdy Sambo on his TikTok account.

Sumiarti’s case began with her comments on Ryna Nhozee’s Facebook account status: “Ngerii ew polisi tilang sampai masuk di Wuring” (It was terrible, the traffic police inspect in Wuring). At that time, the Traffic Police Unit of the Sikka Police was conducting a vehicle inspection in the Wuring T-junction area. Several netizens commented on Ryna Nhozee’s status, including Sumiarti Masry, who said: ‘polisi yang melakukan penilangan itu merupakan warga Ferdi Sambo yang meresahkan,’ (That the police who carried out the inspection were Ferdy Sambo citizens, who were unsettling).

The Sikka Polres quickly arrested Sumiarti Masry and took her to the Sikka Police Station for questioning. The Head of the East Nusa Tenggara Regional Police (Kapolda), Inspector General Setyo Budiyanto, confirmed that police action was taken because of Sumiarti’s Facebook post regarding the police raid in Wuring. However, according to him, Sumiarti was not arrested but interrogated. He also confirmed that this case had been handled following police procedure.

According to the Kapolda’s statement, bringing someone to the police station for interrogation without ever being properly summoned according to a valid law is considered correct police procedure. Taking Sumiarti to the police station was a temporary restraint on her freedom and arbitrary arrest. And according to the legal procedure in force in Indonesia, Law Number 8 of 1981, concerning the Criminal Procedure Code, to arrest someone, the Police must have legally summoned them twice in a row. They must show a letter of assignment and give the suspect an arrest warrant stating the suspect’s identity.

Sumiarti did not stay long at the station. According to Kapolda, she was sent home because she had no bad intentions when she posted. However, immediately after her release, Sumiarti Masry made a video apologising to the Police Traffic Unit of Sikka Polres for calling them residents of Ferdy Sambo. “I apologise to the Police Traffic Unit of Sikka Polres (Satlantas Polres Sikka) because the unkind comment mentioning Ferdy Sambo’s residents is indeed disturbing. Once again, I apologise”.

Sumiarti’s public comments like many others are the way citizens are expressing their views of the police with the Sambo case in the middle of it and seen as a portrait of the Indonesian Police. Currently, the Police’s response is to make arbitrary arrests and detentions, taking citizens for questioning about their public opinions and releasing them after a short time, preceded or followed by a public apology. This is turning into a pattern of police action in Indonesia.

Detailed Case Data
name of the location: Wuring (-8.555999919715322, 122.14358596766422)
administrative region: Indonesia, East Nusa Tenggara Province, Sikka Regency, Alok District, Wolomarang Village
total number of victims: one
period of incident: 01.09.2022
perpetrator: police
perpetrator details: Police Traffic Unit of Sikka Polres
Issues: freedom of expression, arbitrary detention
Sources: https://www.gatra.com/news-551459-hukum-wanita-ditangkap-karena-sebut-polisi-warga-sambo-yang-meresahkan.html, https://voxtimor.pikiran-rakyat.com/rakyat-timor/pr-2275426614/viral-di-ntt-satu-wanita-ditangkap-gegara-sebut-polisi-adalah-warga-sambo-begini-respon-kapolda-ntt
Further HRM News: https://humanrightsmonitor.org/news/a-man-in-pekanbaru-city-riau-province-arbitrarily-arrested-for-social-media-post/

NumberName, DetailsGenderAgeGroup AffiliationViolations
1Sumiarty Masryfemale42unknownfreedom of expression, arbitrary detention