TheJakartaPost

Please Update your browser

Your browser is out of date, and may not be compatible with our website. A list of the most popular web browsers can be found below.
Just click on the icons to get to the download page.

Jakarta Post

Experts differ on revocation of blasphemy articles

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, May 20, 2017   /   05:03 pm
Experts differ on revocation of blasphemy articles Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama arrives at court in Jakarta on May 9. (AFP/Pool/Bay Ismoyo via JP)

Legal experts are showing differences of opinion over the need to revoke the blasphemy articles in Indonesia’s penal code in a debate that has erupted after non-active Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama was imprisoned recently for blasphemy.

Bivitri Susanti, a constitutional law expert from the Jakarta-based Jentera School of Law, said blasphemy articles, especially Article 156 (a) of the Criminal Code, were “problematic”.

“The parameters [of blasphemy] used in the article are not correct. It uses ‘public reaction’ as a parameter to define criminal aspects of alleged blasphemy, while in fact most criminal articles use ‘intention’ as a parameter,” Bivitri said as quoted by kompas.com on Friday.

Constitutional law expert Yusril Ihza Mahendra said blasphemy articles were still needed in Indonesia and the government needed to “protect all religions from any kind of insult”.

“For Indonesia, religion is fundamental. The forms of protection for religions can be found in criminal [blasphemy] articles,” he said in a statement made available to The Jakarta Post on Friday.

Yusril referred to a judicial review ruling at the Constitutional Court, which rejected an appeal to revoke the 1965 Blasphemy Law in 2009.

Blasphemy is regulated in Article 156 (a) of the Criminal Code, used by the court in Ahok’s case, and in the 1965 Blasphemy Law, formulated during former president Sukarno’s presidency. (mos/ebf)