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Indonesia: Ahok conviction for blasphemy is an injustice

Responding to the conviction for blasphemy and imprisonment of Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, better known as “Ahok”, Amnesty International's Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Champa Patel said:

"This verdict demonstrates the inherent injustice of Indonesia's blasphemy law, which should be repealed immediately. Despite protests of his innocence and evidence that his words were manipulated for political purposes, he has been sentenced to two years in jail."

Amnesty International calls the Indonesian authorities to repeal blasphemy laws, including Articles 156 and 156(a) of the Criminal Code that have been used to prosecute and imprison people for “defamation” of religion for as long as five years simply because they have peacefully exercised their right to freedom of expression or to freedom of thought, conscience or religion. These freedoms are protected under international human rights law.

Although the blasphemy law (Presidential Decree No. 1/PNPS/1965) and Article 156(a) of the Criminal Code were enacted in 1965, they were used to prosecute only around 10 individuals between 1965 and 1998, when former President Suharto was in power - during which time the right to freedom of expression was severely curtailed. Between 2005 and 2014 Amnesty International documented at least 106 individuals who have been prosecuted and convicted under blasphemy laws.





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