Alexander Aan is the Indonesian who made the terrible, horrible mistake of posting “blasphemous” statements about Islam and statements asking for proof of god’s existence on a Facebook group page for the Minang Atheists.
Aan was arrested in a small town in West Sumatra on January 18 after a number of local residents assaulted him at work in an act of self-styled vigilantism. They were reacting to some of his postings on a Facebook page devoted to atheism: a note entitled “the Prophet Muhammad was attracted to his own daughter-in-law”; a comic suggesting the Prophet slept with his wife’s maid; and a status update reading, “If you believe in god, then please show him to me.”
Today, officials sentenced him to 2.5 years in prison for his “crime.” Indonesia is a country where the Constitution says that all citizens must believe in god.
Carlos A. Diaz, President of Atheist Alliance International, said “Alex simply stated his personal view on the topic of religion, yet he now faces years in jail. This judgement is an affront to the principles of freedom of speech and freedom of conscience. Indonesia’s blasphemy laws are archaic, an embarrassment to a country that appears to be striving to join the developed world and should be repealed immediately.”