Indonesia’s atheists face battle for religious freedom, The Guardian, 3 May 2012 [external link]
CEMB member Irtaza Hussain on BBC’s Big Question, May 2012. You can see it here:
I30 year old atheist Alex Aan, the civil servant who had been beaten and arrested in Indonesia because his postings on Facebook ‘insulted Islam’ is still in prison. In an update on his case, it’s reported that he has been indicted on three counts. The report says that the trial was attended by five witnesses who had seen the pictures and posts on the Facebook group. The Prosecutor has said the posts caused a ‘public disturbance and outcry’. Apparently, the indictment was ‘strengthened by the fact that Yuhandri, an expert witness, said a person was not allowed to write anything that created public disturbance and outcry.’
Whilst this all seems like a really bad joke, let’s not forget that Alex has been in prison since 20 January. The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and the Atheist Alliance International are collecting money towards his case. We’ve sent him a letter asking him how he wants the money to be spent and what he needs.
A human rights activist will have gone to Padang today to meet Alex and his lawyers at Sijunjung court and give him our letter. He’ll also bring back more details about his case and what more we can do to help.
If you want to support Alex’s case financially, you can send a donation to the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. Just make sure to earmark it for Alex Aan. So far, we have raised around £600, including a donation from the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science UK).
In other news, there have been some reports that 23 year old Hamza Kashgari who faces execution in Saudi Arabia for his Tweets about Mohammad is now out of danger and is to be released imminently or that he is only being held ‘for his own safety’. But these reports are not true.
We must keep the pressure on the Saudi goverment so that it doesn’t dare hurt him because the world’s attention has been turned elsewhere or because people think he is now safe. He’s not.