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Indonesia

Nagging wife's conviction sparks uproar in Indonesia

Attorney general to examine a case in which a woman is jailed for scolding her drunken husband

Nagging wife's conviction sparks uproar in Indonesia

Valencya (left) and her lawyer appear in court. (Photo supplied)

Indonesia’s Attorney General's Office has launched a probe into the handling of a legal case in which a woman was jailed for a year for nagging her husband.

Valencya, who like many Indonesians only goes by one name, was convicted on Nov. 11 in West Java’s Kerawang district for having scolded her husband for drinking too much and neglecting his family.

The sentence was condemned by activists and lawyers and sparked a public outcry, prompting the attorney general to step in to re-examine the case and look at how prosecutors handled it.  

According to prosecutors, the mother of two was found guilty of violating a law on domestic violence because “she often scolded her husband, Chan Yung Chin, harshly and kicked him out the house.”

The case against her was brought by her husband, who reported her to police in September 2020. She was charged on Jan. 11, 2021.

Attorney General Sanitiar Burhanuddin said he has ordered a deputy to look into the case.

A housewife sentenced to one year for this is inhumane. This conviction needs to be overturned

"Because of the public reaction, it will be handled directly by the Deputy Attorney General for General Crimes," spokesman Leonard Simanjuntak said on Nov. 17.

A West Java police spokesman said three officers who investigated the case were suspended from duty and transferred to inactive posts on Nov. 17.

Iwan Kurniawan, Valencya’s lawyer, called the prosecution of his client a travesty of justice, saying she was the real victim. 

“A housewife sentenced to one year for this is inhumane. This conviction needs to be overturned,” he said. 

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The National Commission on Violence Against Women also expressed dismay. 

“It shows the inability of law enforcers, particularly police and prosecutors, in understanding domestic violence cases,” it said in a statement.

Petrus Celestinus, a Catholic lawyer, said Valencya’s case was a sham.

“The public prosecutor doesn’t have a sense of what is proper and an innocent housewife has become a victim,” he told UCA News.

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