If I was being deported for overstaying visa, I would have been deported a wk ago. Instead I was interrogated about a tweet and detained.
— ⌠ Derek4Real ⌡ (@the_HoliDaze) June 6, 2014
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU TWEET, and where you tweet it from.
Derek Freal (aka travel personality The HoliDaze), is currently detained in Jakarta, Indonesia, and will be deported from the country within the next few days. The charge is technically for overstaying his visa limitations, but Freal is convinced he was really incarcerated for posting a tweet that associated the Indonesian government with the F bomb.
“As far as I know,” Freal commented. “This is the first incidence where someone has been deported for Tweeting.”
The situation is certainly bizarre, and begs the question — can a country really do that? They’ve banned Twitter altogether in places such as Turkey and Iran, and it has been censored in places like Venezuela and Egypt. Arrests have been made by people hacking the system during times of political revolt, but to deport someone on the basis of a 140-character message seems a bit radical.
Legal process? They held up a photo of my tweet “did you say this?” “Yes.” and then threw me in a cell. Justice or persecution? @16Classic
— ⌠ Derek4Real ⌡ (@the_HoliDaze) June 7, 2014
Freal has been tweeting from his jail cell since the beginning of June, asking his 23,000+ followers and blog fans to help support his release, and get a lighter deportation sentence. Because of his work for the Indonesian tourism industry, Freal currently will not be blacklisted by the government, and will be able to return to the country after six months.
But as one friend so aptly put it, “The Indonesian immigration authorities don’t fuck around.” Whether the consequences are really based on his illegal residency (according to Freal, there are many expats currently living in Indonesia without having renewed their work or residency visas), or a personal vendetta based on a nasty tweet, Freal is probably lucky to have only received deportation for his offenses.
What do you think? Does the government have the right to detain a foreigner based on something they’ve said on social media?
Or was the Indonesian immigration authority right to have proceeded with the situation as they did?