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Musician jailed 14 months over comments on COVID-19


An Indonesian court on Thursday sentenced a punk-rock musician to 14 months in prison for criticising the country’s Medical Association over its coronavirus measures, his lawyer said.

I Gede Ari Astina, drummer for the band Superman is Dead, was charged with defamation in August after he called the Indonesian Medical Association and hospitals “lackeys of the WHO,” referring to the World Health Organisation.

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He also criticised the association and hospitals for requiring members of the Indonesian public who shows symptoms to undergo coronavirus tests.

Astina, better known by his stage name Jerinx, previously said that COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, is a business scheme concocted by the WHO and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

“My client is disappointed with the verdict,” said Astina’s lawyer Sugeng Teguh Santoso.

Indonesia reported 4,798 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, taking the total number of infections to 483,518, the highest in South-East Asia.

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An additional 97 virus-related deaths recorded overnight brought the number of fatalities to 15,600, according to Health Ministry data.