Indonesia court overturns Facebook mum's acquittal

JAKARTA - An Indonesian woman accused of defamation after comments she made about a local hospital ended up on Facebook said Monday she was shocked by a supreme court decision to overturn her earlier acquittal.

The country's highest court late last month reversed a 2009 district court decision clearing Prita Mulyasari, 34, of criminal defamation for complaints she made about Jakarta's Omni International Hospital.

The supreme court ruling was only made public this month.

"I'm utterly shocked with the ruling. It had been almost two years since the district court cleared me of all charges," Mulyasari told AFP.

"Although I don't have to go to jail, this is a nightmare, why can't they just leave me in peace?," she said.

Under the supreme court ruling, Mulyasari will be jailed for six months if she commits a crime within the next year.

She was arrested in May 2009 and spent three weeks in police custody without charge until public outrage at her detention forced authorities to release her and bring her before the courts.

The hospital's dogged pursuit of the soft-spoken, deeply religious mother-of-three struck a chord of resentment among ordinary Indonesians who see the judiciary as a market where the rich go free while the poor suffer.

One of her lawyers Slamet Yuono said that his client planned to lodge a final appeal against the supreme court ruling.

"The court's decision is really unacceptable. How come they consider that complaining is a crime?," he said.

The original complaint stems from when Mulyasari wrote to about 20 of her friends about being misdiagnosed with dengue fever at the Omni International Hospital, when in fact she had mumps.

The hospital filed criminal charges after the emails were circulated without her knowledge on social networking website Facebook.