Woman fights to clear name after facing jail for leaving review on Instagram

An unlucky woman saw her life ‘turned upside down’ after an Instagram comment to a pal left her facing a bill worth thousands of pounds and a potential prison sentence.

Stella Monica Hendrawan, 26, complained online about acne treatment she had received from a skin care clinic in Indonesia.

But after claiming her skin had worsened after the experience, the company accused her of smearing their reputation.

They demanded she pay for full-page adverts in major national newspapers at a cost of a whopping 800 million rupiah (£40,000).

When Monica couldn’t afford the bill, cops came to her house under a controversial 2008 internet law that regulates online activity.

She told This Week In Asia: “I merely talked about my experience as a customer with my friends. Little did I know that the clinic would accuse me of smearing its reputation.

“I was declared a suspect in October 2020. A team of police officers visited me at home, confiscated my mobile phone and assumed control of my Instagram account.

“I just hope that common sense and decency prevail, because my life was turned upside down because of it.”

The whole ordeal is looking up for Monica, who was acquitted on December 14 after a long pressure campaign fought on many fronts – but state prosecutors could still appeal to a higher court.

Despite the acquittal, the two-year battle has been so hellish she considered taking her own life.

Monica continued to say she felt ‘ostracised’ by her community and some of her pals.

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“Many of my friends, even the ones from my church, distanced themselves from me,” she added.

HK Kosasih, a lawyer arguing against Monica and representing the beauty clinic, argued she had ‘never made any complaints’ about her treatment there and had moved to a new clinic ‘without notice’.

He accused her of making ‘false comments’ online about the treatment she had received and said: “Genuine criticism … should not be made in a derogatory, offensive, insulting manner and should not contain false facts.”

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