Ratna Sarumpaet, the anti-government activist who lied about being assaulted to cover up a personal cosmetic surgery was arrested by Jakarta police at Soekarno-Hatta International Airpot on Friday night (05/10) while planning to go to Chile, she was then detained for 20 days.
Ratna is part of the campaign team for Prabowo Subianto, President Joko Widodo’s rival in the April 2019 election round. Due to her lie, Ratna was forced to resign on Wednesday (03/10).
Spokesman of Jakarta Police, Argo Yuwono told the Strait Times that Ratna was arrested “so she will not run away or get rid of evidence.”
Ratna is being charged under the Article 14 of the Criminal Code as she is suspected of spreading fake news, as well as Article 28 of the Electronic Transaction and Information (ITE) law due to the fake news and hate speech she spread. Argo conveyed, if found guilty, Ratna could be imprisoned for 10 years.
The 69-year-old Ratna argued she did not mean to leave the country to avoid prosecution process when arrested. Instead, she was headed to Chile to participate in an international conference.
Ratna stole the spotlight when photos of her with swollen and bruised face went viral on Tuesday (02/10). At first, she admitted that she had been assaulted in Bandung, West Java on Monday (24/09). The investigation conducted by the police revealed the truth of the case, where it found out that the photos showed the result of a cosmetic operation that was done in an aesthetic hospital in Jakarta from Friday (21/09) until Monday (24/09).
Then just a day later, Ratna admitted that it was a lie and apologized, stating that the photos which showed her swollen and bruised face was the immediate effect of liposuction and that she had never been assaulted—like what she had reported a day before.
The investigators then revealed another allegation. They suspected that Ratna paid for the cosmetic surgery using money from a bank account that is intended to collect money for victims of the June 18 Lake Toba ferry tragedy, in which more than 150 people were reported missing and presumed dead.
However, until now, there is no statement to confirm the truth of whether Ratna used the donations to fund her surgery.
Moreover, this is not the first time for Ratna to spread fake news. Last year, she tweeted on her Twitter account saying that the government had sold state aircraft manufacturer PT. Dirgantara Indonesia to China. She then apologized after the statement was proved wrong.
The other case happened earlier this year. Ratna, on her Twitter, shared a picture of 200,000 rupiah note, stating that the note had been established by the government due to the weakening rupiah. Responding to her tweet, the official Twitter account of Bank Indonesia said it was a hoax.