Blasphemy in Indonesia

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    Indon court rejects blasphemy appeal

    An Indonesian woman's appeal against her 18-month prison sentence for complaining about a mosque loudspeaker has been rejected by the country's Supreme Court.

    Associated PressApril 8, 20199:08pm

    Indonesia's Supreme Court has rejected the appeal of a woman whose complaint about the volume of mosque loudspeakers led to an 18-month prison sentence for blasphemy.

    The woman, Meliana, was sentenced in August, more than two years after her comments sparked riots in port town Tanjung Balai on the island of Sumatra.

    A notice on the court's website said the appeal was rejected on March 27. It didn't give a reason.

    The case has highlighted how Indonesia's blasphemy law has become a tool for Islamic hardliners to persecute followers of minority religions.

    Meliana's ordeal began in July 2016 when she asked if the volume of the loudspeakers at her neighbourhood mosque could be lowered.

    Rumours spread in Tanjung Balai that she wanted to stop the five-times-a-day call to prayer.

    Days later, mobs attacked her home and burned and ransacked at least 14 Buddhist temples.

    Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia's largest Muslim organisation, has criticised the conviction and said the complaint wasn't blasphemous.

    At least 147 people have been imprisoned under blasphemy or related laws since 2004, according to Human Rights Watch.

    The number of cases has slowed since 2014 under President Joko Widodo's administration.

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