World

Indonesia gives freedom
to atheists, communists:
Constitutional Court chief

Mahfud MD: Supreme Court chief. (Kompas/Riza Fathoni)
Mahfud MD:Constitutional Court chief. (Kompas/Riza Fathoni)

Constitutional Court chief Mahfud MD is telling the vesting German chancellor that the Indonesian Constitution gives people the freedom to be atheist or communists.

Mahfud was answering Chancellor Angela Merkel’s question about the freedom of religion and democracy in Indonesia during a visit to the Supreme Court on Tuesday evening.

“Since its inception, the Constitutional Court has guaranteed the freedom of atheists and communists in this country, as long as they do not disturb the freedom of people of other religions. Freedom is equality.” Mahfud said, as quoted by kompas.com.

Mahfud said that the nation would deny human rights and democracy if it denied atheists and communists their rights.

The chief justice’s comments come after a 32-year-old civil servant was imprisoned for 30 months for saying he was an atheist in June, and after local military commanders in East Java banned the television broadcast of an opera about Tan Malaka, a prominent Indonesian nationalist and communist, in 2011. (riz)

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