Wed, Dec 30, 2009 - Page 5 News List

Indonesian Facebook mom wins hospital case


An Indonesian court yesterday threw out a hospital’s defamation case against a mother-of-two who wrote e-mails to her friends complaining about a wrong diagnosis.

Bank worker Prita Mulyasari, 32, broke into tears and the court erupted with applause as the panel of judges dismissed Omni International Hospital’s complaint after a months-long trial.

“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 about 20 friends about being misdiagnosed with dengue fever at the hospital, when in fact she had mumps.

The hospital filed charges after the e-mails were circulated without her knowledge on social networking Web site Facebook.

She was facing up to six years in jail and had already spent weeks in police custody without charge.

“I can’t believe this. This is the power of God,” Mulyasari told MetroTv in an interview after the court announced its ruling, which was broadcast live on TV.

She thanked her family for their support throughout her ordeal.

“From the beginning, I believed there would be an end to this problem. God never sleeps,” she said, adding that justice had been done.

“It never crossed my mind that I would end up in court over an email I sent to friends,” she said.

Arrested on May 13, Mulyasari spent three weeks in custody while she was still breastfeeding her second child. Public anger at her detention, symbolized by a Facebook support group with more than 100,000 members, forced authorities to release her and bring her before the courts.

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