Indonesian Insanity – Non-believer jailed for 2.5 years after writing “God doesn’t exist” on his Facebook page

The Jakarta times reports …

An Indonesian man arrested after writing “God doesn’t exist” on his Facebook page was jailed for 30 months Thursday for sharing explicit material about the Prophet Mohammed online.

Alexander Aan, 30, was found guilty of “deliberately spreading information inciting religious hatred and animosity,” presiding judge Eka Prasetya Budi Dharma told the Muaro Sijunjung district court in western Sumatra.

So basically this poor bloke gets two years and six months in jail because he does not buy into some ignorant superstitious bullshit.

Alex has to be freed. He has done nothing wrong except express his views. This case sends a strong message, basic human rights such as freedom of thought and also freedom of speech do not apply in Indonesia. And the justification was

According to the judges, Alexander’s actions violated Article 28 of Law No. 11/2008 on Information and Electronic Transactions because he had spread information that had caused hatred and enmity against individuals and groups based on tribal affiliations, religion, race and societal groups (SARA).

The judge also mentioned Alexander’s open declaration that he was an atheist, which could be read by many people. This was not acceptable behavior for a citizen and civil servant under the state ideology of Pancasila and the Constitution, which obliges every citizen to have a religion.

Despite their judicial victory, prosecutors have filed for an appeal. Prosecutor Syahril Jasman said he was not satisfied with the sentence, which he deemed too lenient.

What a load of bullshit, the guilty parties here are those that has served up an insane judgment that has now tarnished the reputation of Indonesia.

There is a petition you can sign here. It is for United Nations News Center and comes from Indonesian Human Rights.

Amnesty International are also on the case, here they write …

Indonesia: Atheist imprisonment a setback for freedom of expression

The imprisonment of Alexander Aan for incitement is a serious setback for freedom of expression in Indonesia, and violates Indonesia’s obligations under international law. Amnesty considers him to be a prisoner of conscience and calls for his immediate and unconditional release.

Alexander Aan, a 30 year old civil servant from Pulau Punjung subdistrict in West Sumatera province, was reportedly an active member of the Minang atheist Facebook group. He allegedly posted statements and pictures which some people construed as insulting Islam and the prophet Mohammad.

On 18 January 2012 an angry crowd who had heard about his alleged Facebook posts gathered at his workplace and threatened to beat him. Police officers intervened and took him to the Pulau Punjung Sub-District police station for his safety. On 20 January he was charged for “disseminating information aimed at inciting religious hatred or hostility” under Article 28 (2) of the Electronic Information and Transaction (ITE) Law, religious blasphemy under Article 156a(a) of the Indonesian Criminal Code and calling for others to embrace atheism under Article 156a(b) of the same code.

His trial began at the Muaro District Court on 2 April 2012. On 14 June the court sentenced him to two and a half years’ imprisonment and a fine of 100 million rupiah (US$10,600) for violating the Electronic Information and Transaction (ITE) Law.

Amnesty International believes the charges and sentence are in contravention of Indonesia’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) particularly Article 18, which protects an individual’s right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and Article 19, which guarantees the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

As the United Nations Human Rights Committee – the UN body charged with interpretation of the ICCPR – noted in its General Comment No. 22, freedom of religion includes the freedom to have and adopt atheistic views. The right to hold and express such views is guaranteed under Article 19 of the ICCPR.

Further the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief has emphasised that “the right to freedom of religion or belief does not include the right to have a religion or belief that is free from criticism or ridicule”

Atheist Alliance International also condemns this outrage. They have been running an appeal to assist with Alexander Aan’s legal expenses and support his family since he was arrested in January this year.  Donate at (Legal/Support Fund for Alex Aan).

TAKE ACTION: Please contact the Indonesian authorities to condemn Alex Aan’s jail sentence and to call for the immediate repeal of Indonesia’s blasphemy laws.

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