A middle-aged Indonesian woman, who was identified by her initials SM, was accused of blasphemy for bringing her dog to a mosque in Bogor and released, despite the police mental health assessment that brought her long history of mental illness.
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Last night, a day after the accident, the police said they had found it MS was first diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2013. Since then, she has been treated by several psychiatrists – all of whom have confirmed her diagnosis with the police – but they say that she only intermittently took her medication and often did not show up for therapy.
This morning, the Bogor police announced that MS was accused of blasphemy.
"Based on the evidence of five testimonies and a video of the accident, combined with the clothes and shoes worn by MS when she entered the mosque … SM is now suspected," the police spokeswoman wrote in a statement of Bogor, Ita Puspita Lena, as collected by Detik.
SM was accused of violating Article 156A of the blasphemy law, which involves a potential five-year prison sentence, for having publicly expressed an insult to a recognized religion in Indonesia.
In their statement, the police stated that the legal status of MS may be subject to further mental health assessments, but noted that it behaved aggressively when evaluated.
Can MS defend madness?
Article 44 of the KUHP (Penal Code), which states that individuals with mental disabilities are not responsible for the crimes committed, can theoretically be used by MS if it is found guilty of not being guilty because of mental disease. The case may not even be tried if further mental health assessments show that MS was unable to think or behave rationally at the time of the accident.
Alternatively, or in addition, members of the MS family could be criminally prosecuted if the authorities evoke Article 491 of the KUHP, which states that guardians of mentally challenged people who neglect to keep their eyes on subjects, endangering themselves or others, can be fined up to IDR750 (US $ 0.05) – an amount that was substantial in the period of Dutch colonization, when the KUHP was drafted.
Although the nature of the accident is different, the case has some similarities with another of 2017, in which the police arrested a woman to make purchases in an almost naked pharmacy, but later abandoned the case against her because she felt she had mental health problems. While this possibility is possible for MS, it is a result that could anger some conservative Muslims in Indonesia, some of whom already have asked his case.