UCAN needs your support
You are why we do what we do - report, describe, comment, review. It is to bring to your eyes just what life is like for believers across Asia that we publish UCAN.
But as you know, the effort needs to be sustained if it is to have continuing effect.
UCAN publishes some 150 stories a week in four languages across six websites. We are grateful to benefactors in Europe and the US who support us. But those countries and the Church there are under increasing financial strain and their generosity no longer covers our costs.
We need financial help from our readers to sustain our efforts. Our reporters, editors, video producers and photographers all have families and we need to support them. They do excellent jobs, but they can't do their jobs for nothing.
Will you help us to sustain UCAN? Please click here to help.
Thanks in anticipation.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Amnesty criticizes atheist imprisonment
Human rights group says Indonesia needs to do more to protect religious freedoms
- ucanews.com reporters, Jakarta
- June 15, 2012
Alexander Aan, 32, was sentenced to 30 months in prison yesterday after a Mauro district court found him guilty of disseminating information aimed at inciting religious hatred after posting atheist statements and pictures on Facebook. He was fined 100 million rupiah (US$10,600) for violating the Electronic Information and Transaction (ITE) Law.
An AI statement said the sentence went against Indonesia‚Äôs obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) protecting freedom of thought, conscience, expression and religion.
Atheist views are protected under the UN Human Rights Committee, AI added, expressing concern that Indonesia was using the Criminal Code and a presidential order to punish those deemed to have defamed Islam in the predominantly Muslim country.
‚ÄúThe law continues to be used to imprison people for as long as five years, simply because they have peacefully exercised their right to freedom of expression or their right to freedom of religion,‚ÄĚ the human rights group said, urging the government to repeal the legislation.
Aan was reportedly an active member of a Facebook group of Minang atheists, an ethnic people indigenous to the West Sumatran highlands.
In mid-January, Aan‚Äôs postings prompted an angry group of Muslims to issue physical threats which led the police to take him into custody, which they said was for his own safety.
Two days later, he was charged with disseminating information aimed at inciting religious hatred or hostility under the ITE Law and religious blasphemy in addition to calling for others to embrace atheism under Article 156a of the Criminal Code. His trial began on April 2.
Indonesia‚Äôs constitution guarantees freedom of religion in its constitution but only recognizes six religions, namely Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Catholicism, Confucianism and Protestantism.