Raped child jailed for abortion

Calls to decriminalise abortion grew louder in Indonesia after a teenager who was raped by her brother was jailed for six months for having a termination, sparking anger among activists who demanded her release.

Indonesian activists have filed an official complaint against the three judges at the Muara Bulian district court.

The 15-year-old from Jambi province on Sumatra was sentenced last month after a judge found her guilty of having an abortion, according to Amnesty International. She was eight months pregnant.

Women’s rights and child protection activists met the Indonesian Judicial Commission in Jakarta this week to urge it to review the judgement.

“In Indonesia, they only see abortion as black and white, that we really can’t have abortions, whatever happens,” said Genoveva Alicia from the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, who attended the meeting. “And [the judges] see this as a normal case.”

Monday’s meeting was the first time the judicial commission in the capital had reportedly heard about the case.

Her brother, 18, was jailed for two years for sexually assaulting a child, while their mother was arrested for assisting in an abortion.

The brother told the police he had raped the victim eight times since September and that if she refused he would beat her. Police said the brother claimed that watching pornography had driven him to sexually assault his sister.

Abortion is illegal in Indonesia except if a woman’s life is in danger or if she has been raped, but only within the first 40 days of pregnancy.

Budi Wahyuni of the government-backed National Commission on Violence Against Women called the girl’s punishment a “gross injustice”.

“She was raped and now jailed, it is a double injustice. All women must be given the right to decide on abortion and not being subjected to any punishments,” she told the media.

Activists questioned irregularities in the case, including that the girl and her brother were both represented by the same government-appointed lawyer in court.

Jambi police arrested the siblings in June after a foetus was found in a palm-oil plantation.

The judicial commission agreed to respond to the complaint within 30 days and to monitor the mother’s ongoing trial.

The rape victim reportedly plans to appeal against her conviction at the Jambi High Court.

The case might being welcome attention to women’s rights in Indonesia. Picture credit: Pixnio