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Jakarta Post

Woman accused of blasphemy to face prosecution despite mental illness

  • Vela Andapita

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, July 3, 2019   /   10:23 am
Woman accused of blasphemy to face prosecution despite mental illness A screen capture of the viral video shows a woman, identified by police as SM, entering a mosque in Sentul, Bogor, on Sunday with a dog and without removing her footwear. (File/-)

The Bogor Police said on Tuesday that they would continue the legal process against a Catholic woman accused of blasphemy for bringing her pet dog into a mosque even though she has been officially declared to be mentally unsound.  

In Islam, dogs are considered impure, particularly their saliva. 

Family members of the woman, identified as SM, have submitted to the police two letters from two different hospitals confirming that the 50-year-old woman had a history of mental illness.

SM, who has been named a blasphemy suspect, has been undergoing observation at the National Police Hospital in Kramat Jati, East Jakarta.

Bogor Police spokesperson Adj. Comr. Ita Puspita told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday night that the conclusions derived from the observations would be announced on Wednesday.

The officer, however, also stressed that a conclusion that she was not mentally sound would not stop the legal process against her. 

"Even after the suspect is announced to have a mental illness, the legal proceedings will continue until the [Bogor District] court decides whether the charge should be dropped," she said.

The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) said that a person who is mentally ill could not be held responsible for her actions. 

"In Islam, people with mental illness are spared from punishment," the council's deputy chairman Yunahar Ilyas said on Tuesday.

The council, however, stopped short of calling on the police to stop the investigation into the case, saying it would not interfere with the ongoing legal process.