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Indonesian Teen Sentenced to Jail on Facebook Defamation Charges

In most democratic countries, teenage gossip and name-calling rarely leave the realm of a high school cafeteria. In the hyper transparent age of Facebook, though, and especially in the authoritarian Republic of Indonesia, adolescent catfights are settled by civil courts -- and can often lead to jail time.

A judge in Jakarta recently sentenced a teenage girl to 75 days in prison after she was found guilty of defamation via Facebook. After 18-year-old Farah Nur Arafah posted a string of ice-cold insults directed towards her romantic rival, Felly Fandini, Fandini cried defamation and a panel of three judges agreed. What could Arafah possibly have posted on Facebook to warrant jail time? Apparently, she called Fandini a dog and a pig, accused her of being promiscuous, and, in what must've been the clincher, said she was overweight. The judge presiding over the case originally sentenced her to prison, but suspended the sentence because Arafah cooperated during her trial. She'll only serve the time if she breaks the law over the next 45 days. Arafah, here's a tip: Stay off of Facebook.

Believe it or not, this isn't anything new in Indonesia, where, last year, a mother of two spent three weeks in prison after complaining on Facebook about a misdiagnosed case of the mumps. And, according to MSNBC, the number of defamation cases in Indonesian civil courts has only risen, as governmental bigwigs seek to suppress even the tamest of criticisms. Luckily, the country's iron-fisted jurisprudential policies haven't gone unnoticed. Human Rights Watch will be releasing a report next month detailing just how tough these defamation laws are, even in a "democratic" country 12 years removed from the Suharto dictatorship. Under Suharto, anyone convicted of character assassination faced the death penalty, at worst. In today's electoral democracy, the maximum penalty has been "reduced" to life in prison. [From: MSNBC]

Tags: cyber bullying, CyberBullying, defamation, facebook, indonesia, lawsuit, teenagers, top