Indonesia urged to release jailed teen rape survivor
Ambon (Indonesia) : Human rights non-profits have begun a campaign for the release of a 15-year-old Indonesian girl raped by her brother, after she was given a six-month prison sentence for having an abortion, an activist said on Wednesday.
The campaign is being run by a number of Indonesian and international organizations, which also demanded that courts consider the age of the accused and the fact that the girl was a rape survivor while deciding the abortion case, a spokesperson of non-profit LBH Apik (Association of Indonesian Women for Justice) told Efe news.
The girl was given the sentence in July by a municipal court in Jambi province of Sumatra for aborting her six-month old foetus, as Indonesian law allows abortion in special cases but only during the first six weeks of pregnancy.
Her 18-year-old brother was given a two-year prison term for rape while the mother is facing charges for allegedly assisting in the abortion.
Seven Indonesian organizations participating in the campaign filed a complaint about the verdict to the Judicial Commission of Indonesia, which agreed to examine if there were irregularities in the trial.
Aquino Hayunta, a representative of parents' association Pasukan Jarik, said that the commission should investigate the fact that the siblings had the same court-appointed lawyer and if the judge was qualified to decide on cases related to minors.
LBH APIK activist Dian Novita said that her organization demanded that sexual violence should be included as a mitigating factor in such cases.
According to Novita, this was not an isolated case and the NGO had come across 39 cases of child sexual abuse in 2017, with three of the survivors facing legal problems after becoming pregnant.
Amnesty International joined the campaign and flagged lack of knowledge about exceptions to the Indonesian anti-abortion law and the stigma attached to survivors in the country, which increases when the victim undergoes a secret abortion.