A policeman assigned in Asahan, North Sumatra, has been sentenced to 30 months in prison and been ordered to pay a Rp 1 billion fine for inciting hate speech on Facebook.
The Kisaran District Court on Wednesday found Adj. Second Insp. Saperio Sahputera Peranginangin Pinem guilty of spreading hate speech, a violation of Article 45A of the Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law, after posting an insulting comment about Prophet Muhammad on social media.
Presiding Judge Elfian said the defendant was found to have committed the crime on purpose to provoke hatred toward Muslims.
“The court sentences Saperio Sahputera Peranginangin Pinem to two years and six months in prison,” Elfian said on Wednesday while delivering the verdict.
Responding to the sentence both the prosecutors and the defendant said they had yet to decide whether to accept or appeal the ruling.
Saperio posted a status on Facebook containing an insult against Prophet Muhammad on Aug. 21, 2018. He promptly deleted it and asked for an apology, but the post had already been captured by other internet users, sparking anger among Muslims.
A number of Muslim organizations then reported Saperio to the Asahan police. The police arrested him on Aug. 23, two days after he posted the status.
The Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet) recorded that the ITE law had imprisoned at least 381 people since it was first deliberated in 2008, 90 percent of those imprisoned had been charged with defamation while the rest with hate speech.