Indonesian Christian Jailed for Facebook Post ‘Insulting’ Islam

An Indonesian Christian has been handed a four-year jail sentence for a Facebook post that likened the prophet Muhammad to a pig.

In the latest conviction under a controversial hate-speech law, dozens of Islamic hardliners cheered and shouted: “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great) as the court in Sumatra ruled that Martinus Gulo was hostile toward Muslims in his post, which also suggested Mohammed sanctioned bestiality.

In the ruling at the Medan District court on Tuesday, the 21-year-old university student was ordered to pay a fine of one billion rupiah ($70,000) or spend an additional six months in jail, AFP writes.

“Finding the defendant guilty of misusing information by offending believers through his Facebook account, I sentence him to four years,” said presiding judge Saidin Bagariang.

Gulo was convicted under Indonesia’s electronic information and transactions law, which makes it a crime to spread “hatred or animosity” against an individual or group based on their race or religion.

He was arrested in March after the militant Islamic Defenders Front reported his online post to police.

But Gulo, who is Christian, told authorities that he made the post because he was upset that his own religion was criticised online.

Gulo’s conviction comes after a 39-year-old Muslim was sentenced to five years in April under the same law after he claimed to have experienced God’s presence and questioned the faith of other Muslims.

Last year, Jakarta’s former governor — the city’s first Christian leader of Chinese descent — was sentenced to two years in jail for blasphemy.

The case fuelled concerns that Indonesia’s moderate brand of Islam is coming under threat from increasingly influential radicals in the world’s most popular Muslim country.

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