Outspoken antigovernment activist Ratna Sarumpaet admitted to having lied about being assaulted in Bandung, West Java, saying pictures of her swollen eyes that went viral on Tuesday were the result of liposuction.
Ratna said that after having surgery at a hospital in Jakarta she had bruises on her face and lied to her children, telling them that she had been beaten by unidentified assailants.
"There was no assault. That was just a delusion inspired by Satan," she told the media hours after the police held a conference questioning her claims.
She claimed that her family members, concerned about her swollen face, kept asking what had happened to her, so she made up a story about being assaulted. She conceded that it had been a mistake.
"I never thought that I would be this stupid. I don't know what evil encouraged me to create [the lie]," Ratna said. "So, there was no such assault."
Ratna's claims turned political after presidential contender Prabowo Subianto met her and denounced the "assault" against her, saying that he would speak to National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian about the "human rights abuse."
Ratna has apologised to Prabowo and the public for her deception, particularly to National Mandate Party (PAN) patron Amien Rais, "who had been patient listening to me lying yesterday."
The 69-year-old political activist, who is part of Prabowo's campaign team, claimed to have been assaulted in Bandung, resulting in injuries to her face. Pictures showing Ratna with her eyes nearly swollen shut began circulating on social media on Tuesday.
The deputy chairwoman of the Prabowo-Sandiaga Uno campaign team, Nanik S. Deyang, said on Tuesday that the incident had taken place on Sept. 21 near Husein Sastranegara International Airport.
The police investigated Ratna's claims and found out that she had not been in Bandung that day, but at a Jakarta hospital specialising in cosmetic surgery.
RATNA UNDERWENT FACIAL SURGERY, NOT ASSAULTED: POLICE
The police’s investigative report shows that many of Ratna’s claims just do not add up.
The police said there was no international conference held in the region on Sept. 21 and that she was not on any flight manifest arriving in Bandung that day.
The police also found out a phone number registered to her name was active in Jakarta from Sept. 20 to Sept.30.
Furthermore, they found that bank accounts belonging to Ratna’s family transferred money to a cosmetic surgery hospital in Jakarta on Sept 20, Sept 21 and Sept 24. The police then obtained hospital documents showing that Ratna was hospitalized after allegedly undergoing facial surgery at Bina Estetika Hospital from Sept. 21 (the day the alleged assault took place) to Sept 24.
"[Bina Estetika] is a hospital specializing in surgery, including dental surgery and other cosmetic surgery. It is not possible that she went there for treatment after being assaulted," Jakarta Police general crimes director Sr. Comr. Nico Afinta told the press on Wednesday morning.
"Moreover, it is impossible that she was assaulted in Bandung on the evening of Sept 21, because from Sept 21 at 5 p.m. until Sept 24 at 9pm, she did not leave the hospital," he went on.
To back up their findings, the report includes pictures of CCTV footage of the hospital, purportedly showing Ratna checking in and out of the hospital.
The police also corroborate their claim by showing that the wallpaper in the viral photo of her swollen eyes and bruised face is identical to the wallpaper of the cosmetic surgery hospital.