As reported by Tribun-Bali.com, the chairman of the Bali Chapter of the Indonesian Medical Association (IDI), Dr. Putra Suteja, has testified in a face-to-face setting in the trial of Bali Rock Musician I Gede Ari Astina or JRX of the Punk Rock Group Superman is Dead (SID).
Dr. Suteja appeared in a closed face-to-face courtroom attended by the defendant, a panel of judges, and prosecutors on Tuesday, 13 October 2020. Athe the trial, the chairman of IDI in Bali testified for almost three hours connected with the police complaint he made accusing JRX of defamation and Hate Speech for online comments accusing the IDI of acting like “lackeys” (kacung) of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Following the court session, Dr. Suteja insisted he bore no ill-will toward the 43-year-old musician and had filed the police complaint against JRX merely as ordered by the Central Board of IDI in Jakarta. Suteja said the critical statements posted by JRX online had damaged the esprit de corps of doctors and others working without a break in the battle against the coronavirus. Adding: “Such statements make us (medical practitioners) feel weak and lessen the public’s trust in our work.”
Dr. Suteja was questioned on the details regarding the police report he made on behalf of the IDI, his legal standing as the complainant, and the reasons for the criminal complaint.
After three days of reading JRX’s online criticism of the IDI from 12 until 14 June 2020, Suteja received a mandate from the National Management of IDI to make a criminal complaint on their behalf on 15 June. On 16 June 2020, he went to the Bali Police Headquarters to make the formal police complaint.
He cited JRX’s defamation as responsible for weakening doctors’ resolve and, by extension, detracting from the quality of work being performed by Indonesian doctors fighting COVID-19.
Elaborating further, Suteja said: “We (the IDI) followed JRX’s posts daily. These statements left the doctors insulted and angry. We (the doctors) are only human and need to feel appreciated. The IDI is comprised of human beings; we have feelings. A number of our members have died (fighting the coronavirus). Give them emotional support, don’t destroy their spirit with unnecessary commentary.”
“We (the IDI) followed JRX’s posts daily. These statements left the doctors insulted and angry. We (the doctors) are only human and need to feel appreciated. The IDI is comprised of human beings; we have feelings. A number of our members have died (fighting the coronavirus). Give them emotional support, don’t destroy their spirit with unnecessary commentary.”Chairman of IDI-Bali, Dr. Putra Suteja
The IDI-Bali chairman emphasized that he had coordinated carefully with the Central management of IDI before making the police complaint. He also holds a written order and power of attorney issued by IDI-Indonesia.
Suteja underlined before the Court that he has no personal quarrel with JRX, but had received orders as a member of this professional organization to report the musician to the police. “I have no personal problem (with JRX). But IDI-Indonesia held a meeting on 14 June 2020 that formally ordered me to file a criminal complaint,” said Putra Suteja.
JRX and his legal team had insisted the earlier format of an online “virtual trial” was legally and ethically unacceptable, prompting Dr. Suteja to say he welcomed the convening of a face-to-face legal proceeding.
“I have faced him (JRX). That was nothing special. He is a good person. But also, please look at the members of IDI in the face. They spend 8 hours wearing Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). How many days have they gone without seeing their families? When critical comments are made (after such sacrifice), I, as a member of the medical profession, need to safeguard my friends’ feelings and their professional ‘esprit de corps.’ JRX is a good person. I can see this from his many works on behalf of society,” said Dr. Suteja.
The court proceeding was the first session from the continuing criminal trial of JRX that was held in a face-to-face format before the Denpasar Court. To limit human contact and maximize physical distancing, the press and the public could not attend the trial. Many reporters complained bitterly about the lack of loudspeakers outside the Courtroom that would have allowed the press to witness the trial.
The presiding panel of judges allowed the press into the Courtroom for only two minutes to take pictures of the defendant and witnesses.
Reporters waiting outside the Courtroom noted a large police and military presence throughout the proceedings. Unlike past proceedings connected with the trial of JRX, no protestors or demonstrators were seen outside the Courthouse.
However, when JRX was being transported from Police Headquarters to the Courthouse, an informal convoy of sympathetic motorcyclists suddenly appeared and followed the police van carrying the musician to the Court for trial. The convoy, numbering in the tens of participants, carried banners demanding the release of JRX.