Facebook post lands Jambi councillor in prison for blasphemy
The Jakarta Post
The West Tanjung Jabung District Court in Jambi has sentenced local councillor Riano Jaya Wardhana to one year in prison and Rp 5 million (US$350) in fines for blasphemy in a Facebook post.
The judges declared him guilty on Monday of violating the Electronic Information Transactions (ITE) Law by inciting hatred and hostility toward individuals and/or groups based on ethnicity, religion, race or intergroup affiliation.
The sentence was lighter than prosecutors’ demand of a 15-month prison sentence.
Riano, who chairs the branch of the NasDem Party in the regency, was reported to West Tanjung Jabung Police in May last year over a Facebook post in which he criticized the way some Muslims had treated former Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama.
He wrote: “I am personally disgusted by Muslims who practice the same faith as me but are senseless, as if they are the most righteous; they abuse religion [...] and do not forgive other people, as if they are as bad as the devil.”
Riano is not the first person charged with blasphemy. There have been 97 blasphemy court cases from 1965 to 2017, according to rights group Setara Institute. The number of cases grew after the fall of Suharto’s New Order regime. The case that garnered most attention, both nationwide and globally, was that against Ahok, who is now in jail for insulting the Quran. (nmn)
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