Alexander Aan is serving 11 years in prison in Indonesia, where it's illegal to not believe in a supreme being.
The constitution officially recognizes the religions of Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Confucianism, and stipulates that every citizen must believe in a supreme being.
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.”
Prosecutors have charged Aan under the Electronic Information and Transaction Law, which prohibits inciting hatred or enmity of a religious group, and under the country’s blasphemy provision, Article 156a, which criminalizes “hostility, hatred or contempt” and “disgracing” of a religion. Article 156a also prohibits attempts to persuade others to leave their religion and embrace atheism.
And it's situations like this that have led me to the conclusion that the right to keep and bear arms is a necessary condition for the existence of other rights.
It does show that here on Nexus, we need to be especially careful to respect the risks that others take just by logging on. We've had Iranian members who no longer log on, as far as I know. I worry about what happened to them. One Indian member was found dead in mysterious circumstances, and I've never been able to find out what was his cause of death. He was an activist in the US and in India. Whenever I bump, electronically, into people who are atheist but live in repressive theocratic societies or regimes, I try to make sure they are watching for their safety.
This Article from Aljazeera says Mr. Ann has been jailed for two and a half years on the charge of Inciting Religious hatred. Apparently the muslim majority requested a harsh sentence in lieu of them decapitating him.
This is so sad and also infuriating but not surprising. What's hardest is for me to understand why Aan did not know this would happen to him. I think that's an important role of Nexus, is to create an environment where people know how far they can go. In jail, or dead, Aan is a martyr who would disappear from the collective memory, not doing himself or others much good. Here is an atheist in the Maldives who supposedly committed suicide after he came out as atheist and things went bad.
Wow... Very sad.
"Despite the rigidity of its religious laws, the Maldives was recently elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council."
And then some people wonder why I think the U.N. should be disbanded. As far as I'm concerned, it's little more than an international forum that gives despotic third world regimes legitimacy and a soap box.