Mon, 11 Dec 2023

JAKARTA, Indonesia: An Indonesian court sentenced Lina Lutfiawati, also known as Lina Mukherjee, to two years in prison this week for violating the country's blasphemy law.

She was sentenced for posting a video in March on social media site TikTok where she recited the Muslim prayer before eating pork, which is considered 'haram,' or not permissible, under Islam.

Indonesia is the largest Muslim-majority country in the world.

Court documents in the Indonesian city of Palembang, on Sumatra island, showed that Lina was sentenced this week as she deliberately "spread information that was intended to incite hate or individual/group enmity based on religion."

She was also ordered to pay a fine of US$16,249.59.

Indonesia's strict blasphemy laws have been used to erode a long-standing reputation for tolerance and diversity in the Southeast Asian country, critics stressed.

Usman Hamid, executive director of Amnesty International Indonesia, said the country's blasphemy law has been abused to target minority groups and dissenters.

"It contravenes Indonesia's international obligations in relation to respect and protection for freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief, freedom of opinion and expression," he said.

Notably, the blasphemy law has been used against Jakarta's former Christian governor Basuki "Ahok" Purnama, sentenced to two years in prison in 2017 for blasphemy, on charges widely considered as politically motivated.

The court documents also showed that the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), a leading body of clerics, told the court that Lina's action was blasphemous against Islam.

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