The Jakarta Post
The police have been suggested to use criminal charges only as a last resort in dealing with any reports of religious defamation, including the case currently implicating inactive Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama.
The Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) said Friday that charging somebody under the Blasphemy Law could violate the person's freedom to express his or her thoughts.
"We have to use the perspective of human rights and democracy first and use a criminal charge as the last resort," YLBHI chairman Alvon Kurnia Palma said.
Alvon said the problem with the Blasphemy Law was that it was too broad with no clear-cut boundaries, meaning that anything could be considered a violation of its articles.
In particular, he said, the articles of the law could be used to silence people expressing their thoughts.
Ahok is currently being investigated by the police after being reported last month over remarks he made that were considered to be an insult of the Quran and Islam. The remarks appeared in a video that went viral last month.
On Nov. 4, thousands of Muslims staged a rally in front of Presidential Palace in Central Jakarta, demanding that Ahok be jailed. The rally ended violently with two police cars set on fire.
Alvon said the police should, rather than processing the criminal report, facilitate a meeting between the conflicting parties to resolve the issue. (jun)
Your premium period will expire in 0 day(s)close x