The Indonesian-American girlfriend of an Englishman stabbed to death in Bali earlier this month is now taking legal action to seek retractions from media outlets that claimed she had been arrested on suspicion of murder.
British national Matthew Harper died of multiple stab wounds at his house in Bali on January 13, 2022. Emmy filmed him from a window outside, as he lay dying on the floor. She said he had locked her out of the house before stabbing himself. Some British tabloid media later claimed Emmy was suspected of murdering Harper. The accusation was repeated by some other online foreign and Indonesian media.
Police in Bali concluded Harper’s death was a suicide. They said he was depressed because he had lost his job with a hotel because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of Harper’s friends and relatives in the UK expressed doubt over the suicide finding.
Emmy had been quoted by local media as saying Harper was a violent alcoholic who beat her. She is now pursuing legal action against the press reports that suggested she may have killed Harper.
On Wednesday, the Jakarta-based Satrio Law Firm issued a press release headlined: “Cyber Bullying Press Falsely Accuse Innocent Indonesian Woman of Murder of UK Fiancé for Click-Bait Cash!”
In the release, Emmy laments that she cannot get domestic help because of the damage to her reputation. Also included in the release are comments from American lawyer Andrew Sriro, who is a senior foreign advocate of Satrio Law Firm.
The release does not mention Emmy’s nationality, but media reports have said she was born in Indonesia and took US citizenship after her marriage to an American. The release does not address complaints made against Emmy on Facebook groups by people who felt unsatisfied in business transactions with her.
Following is the press release in full:
Satrio Law Firm
26 January 2022
Cyber Bullying Press Falsely Accuse Innocent Indonesian Woman of Murder of UK Fiancé for Click-Bait Cash!
Bali Murder Defamation, Fake News
Cyber bullying and defamation by the powerful press is on full gruesome display in the case of the death by suicide of Mr. Matthew Harper, a UK citizen residing in the idyllic resort island of Bali, Indonesia.
Without remorse, the mercantile press and other click-bait influencers have sacrificed an innocent Indonesian woman in her saddest moments on the altar of press profits.
In the early morning hours of Thursday, 13 January 2022, UK citizen Mr. Matthew Harper took his own life in Bali, the idyllic Indonesian island paradise. Mr. Harper stabbed himself repeatedly with a kitchen knife while his fiancé helplessly looked on through a window after being locked out of the house by Mr. Harper prior to Mr. Harper’s suicide.
Various prominent press outlets and internet influencers published articles falsely declaring that Ms. Pakpahan murdered Mr. Harper. Some of the offending outlets include the Daily Star (UK), the Evening Standard (UK), London News Time (UK), the Mirror (UK), Singapore Time (Singapore), the Sun (UK), US Time Today, and among others Express.Co.UK.
Press reports falsely claimed that Ms. Pakpahan had been arrested on charges of murder. In fact, Ms. Pakpahan was never arrested. She of course has visited the police station on several occasions as a witness in relation to her cooperation with the police.
Press reporting was done without adherence to basic journalistic standards.
After the fallacious defamatory press reports were published, the Bali Police held a news conference and unequivocally declared that Mr. Harper’s death was by suicide. Please see the attached video clip at 00:31, wherein the police state that “we are able to conclude that the cause of this victim’s death was suicide”.
Ms. Pakpahan continues to cooperate with the police.
“This has been a nightmare,” said Ms. Pakpahan. “Losing Matthew and witnessing Matthew’s suicide has been extremely traumatic for me. Being bashed by the press has added another dimension to my trauma. The press has destroyed my name and reputation for the sole purpose of making money through click-bait.”
Ms. Pakpahan is now faced with multiple personal and legal battles. As she grieves for the loss of Mr. Harper, she must also fight to redeem her good name.
“The false accusations against me have permanently and negatively changed my relationships with my family, friends and community, my reputation has been destroyed, my ability to earn a living has been severely impaired. My child has been branded the son of a murderer. My life has been ruined,” said Ms. Pakpahan.
“I will pursue my rights against all offenders who have injured my family and me through their abuse of the power of the press, social media and influencers,” she said.
As a result of the malicious doxing, Ms. Pakpahan is currently experiencing severe anxiety, panic attacks, depression, fatigue, fevers, joint pain, shortness of breath, chest pain and headaches.
“How will I support myself? Who will employ me or do business with me now?” Ms. Pakpahan lamented. “I can’t even get domestic help. They are afraid to be near me”, she said.
According to Ms. Pakpahan’s American lawyer, an Indonesian foreign advocate with Satrio Law Firm in Jakarta, Andrew I. Sriro, BA, JD, MH, “Cyber defamation is a serious crime. The law recognizes the terrible devastating widespread and often irreparable damage cyber defamation inflicts on its victims. Defamation destroys lives by fueling a never ending cycle of gossip that causes severe emotional distress and ruins the reputations, relationships and economic opportunities of its victims, damage that can never be fully repaired.”
Leading Indonesian litigation lawyer James Purba, of the law offices of James Purba & Partners, Ms. Pakpahan’s Indonesian lawyer, said “Indonesian law punishes cyber defamation with up to 6 years of imprisonment and fines up to Rp1,000,000,000 for each offense.” Mr. Purba said “Article 5 of Law No. 40 of 2009 requires the press to present the news in a manner that respects’ the principle of the presumption of innocence. That principle has not been fulfilled in this case.”
Ms. Pakpahan is requesting that the offending press immediately retract, correct and update their offending publications.