Center for Inquiry Condemns Jailing of Indonesian Atheist for “Inciting Religious Hatred”

June 14, 2012

The Center for Inquiry (CFI)
expresses outrage over today’s
by an Indonesian court sentencing 30-year-old Alexander Aan to two
years and six months in prison for allegedly “spreading information inciting
religious hatred and animosity.” Aan was also reportedly
100 million rupiah (equivalent to US $10,600).

you might recall, Aan was attacked by an angry mob and then arrested earlier
this year for posting messages to Facebook expressing his lack of belief in a
God, as well as several cartoons about the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Leading up
to Aan’s trial, CFI
the Asian Human Rights Commission to pressure Indonesian government
officials to drop the charges. Unfortunately, they ignored our pleas.

Aan did nothing more than exercise the most basic of human rights — the liberty
to express his beliefs — yet he is now in great danger. Not only has he lost
his freedom, but many people in Indonesia are calling for his death. It is
unconscionable that any person could be jailed or face death threats for simply
stating his or her position regarding religion. Freedom of belief and expression
are universal rights that should be afforded to all individuals.

In response to today’s ruling, CFI is organizing
a protest outside the Indonesian embassy in Washington, D.C.
protest will take place next week, most likely on Monday afternoon, June
18. If you can attend, please email Michael De Dora at

In the meantime, please consider contacting
Indonesian authorities
 and telling them that Aan’s sentence is unjust
and should be withdrawn.

will continue to track Aan’s situation and keep you informed.



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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at