A 21-year-old man named Martinus Gulo was sentenced to four years in prison by the Medan District Court yesterday after being found guilty of blasphemy.
Martinus was arrested in Medan in March after he wrote a post likening the Islamic Prophet Muhammad to an animal on Facebook. His arrest came after hardline group Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) reported him to the authorities over the post.
“The convicted carried out an act prohibited by Article 28 Verse 2 from Law no. 11/2008 on Information and Electronic Transactions (ITE),” said presiding judge Fahren, as quoted by JawaPos yesterday.
In addition to the four-year sentence, the court also ordered Martinus to pay a fine of IDR1 billion (US$68,914) in lieu of an additional six month prison sentence.
Case prosecutors previously demanded a five-year sentence for Martinus, which is the maximum sentence for blasphemy.
The court gave Martinus and his legal counsel five days to appeal the decision.
Indonesia’s controversial blasphemy laws have been under intense scrutiny in the past few years, particularly after the jailing of former Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama in 2017 for blasphemy against Islam. Many domestically and abroad, including the United Nations, have called for abolishment of the laws as they are prone to political manipulation and have been used to unjustly persecute religious minorities.