Indonesia atheist update

I wrote about it in May, although it happened back in January. Alexander Aan wrote “God does not exist” on his Facebook page and New Humanist is reporting that Aan is heading for prison for 2.5 years under a guilty charge of “deliberately spreading information inciting religious hatred and animosity”.

He was also accused of posting cartoon strips deemed insulting to the Prophet Muhammad.

In passing the sentence, the presiding judge Eka Prasetya Budi Dharma told the the Muaro Sijunjung district court in western Sumatra that Aan had “caused anxiety to the community and tarnished Islam”.

Prosecutors had sought a lengthier jail sentence for Aan, but in finding him guilty of inciting religious hatred, the court dropped two additional, less serious charges of blasphemy and persuading others to embrace atheism.

While Indonesian law guarantees citizens freedom of religion, it only protects those who follow Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism, Confucianism or Hinduism, leaving those who publicly express their atheism vulnerable to the kinds of charges brought against Aan.

They include a link to Atheist Alliance International which has taken up the cause and is urging anyone interested to donate towards an appeal.

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