Regent sued for defamation

Contradicting the normal practice, a regent in North Sulawesi is facing a lawsuit for alleged defamation filed by his people.

Former head of regional manpower and transmigration agency Ibrahim Polakitan and former head of agricultural agency Roly Soputan have filed the libel lawsuit against Southeast Minahasa Regent Tely Tjangkulung with the police.

“The police are still investigating the case,” spokesman for the provincial police Adj. Sr. Comr. Benny Bella told Antara on Wednesday. He added a number of witnesses had been questioned in connection with the case.

One of the witnesses, Novry Kolinung, said the regent had told protesters who rallied to question the dismissal of Ibrahim and Roly on Dec. 9, 2009 that the two were replaced due to an alleged love affair out of wedlock and alleged extortion in a project. Both Ibrahim and Roly deemed the regent’s statement that was made in public as slanderous.

In most defamation cases, it is public officials who file the lawsuits against ordinary citizens, not the other way around.