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Jakarta Post

Mixed response for blasphemy verdict

Jakarta   /   Thu, February 10 2011   /  11:07 am

The hasty verdict and five-year prison sentence levied by the Temanggung District Court on blasphemy defendant Antonius Richmond Bawengan has drawn mixed responses from legal observers.

Tri Wuryaningsih, a social and political science lecturer at Purwokerto’s Jenderal Soedirman University,
said on Wednesday that the decision to hand down a verdict just moments after prosecutors read their sentence demand deprived the Antonius of a chance to defend himself.

Mobs destroyed three churches in Temanggung, Central Java, on Tuesday, after the verdict was issued.

“I perceive that the judges hastily handed down the sentence without considering various factors, such as [the case’s] social and legal aspects,” said.

Tri added that before passing sentence the judges should have heard testimony from parties interested in the social aspects of the case and the f...