JAKARTA — An Indonesian court on Tuesday threw out a hospital’s criminal defamation case against a mother-of-two who complained about a wrong diagnosis in emails to her friends.
Bank worker Prita Mulyasari, 32, broke into tears and the court erupted with applause as the chief judge threw out Omni International Hospital’s case, after a months-long trial that has outraged the nation.
“The email sent by the defendant doesn’t contain any defamation. It constitutes criticism so the public will be protected from mistreatment by any hospital or doctor,” the judges said in their ruling.
Mulyasari had written to her friends about being misdiagnosed with dengue fever at the hospital outside Jakarta, when in fact she had mumps.
The hospital filed criminal charges on behalf of two doctors after the emails were circulated without her knowledge on social networking website Facebook.
She was facing up to six years in jail.
Arrested on May 13, Mulyasari spent three weeks in custody without charge until public anger at her detention forced authorities to release her and bring her before the courts to face criminal charges.
She had already been fined $21,400 (204 million rupiah) under the civil code for defaming the hospital.
A collection raised more than $50,000 in public donations to help her pay the fine and cover her legal expenses. — AFP