Indonesia court jails sect leaders

08.03.2017

An Indonesian court on Tuesday sentenced two leaders of a religious sect to five years in prison in a blasphemy case. In 2015, residents attacked members of the Dawn Archipelago Movement (Gafatar) living in a remote community in West Kalimantan province, accusing them practising a deviant sect. Authorities later moved thousands of sect members to their places of origin on the island of Java and arrested their leaders, accusing them of trying to overthrow the government.

Judges at the East Jakarta district court found the sect's founder, Ahmad Musadeq, and another leader, Mahful Muis, guilty of blasphemy. Musadeg's son, Andri Cahya, received a three-year jail sentence. Islamic clerics in the Muslim-majority country said Gafatar taught deviant teachings mixing Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Musadeg has denied that Gafatar was a deviant sect, saying that it was a community devoted to farming.

It was a second brush with the law for Musadeq. In 2007 he was sentenced to four years in prison for declaring himself a prophet and funding an Islamic sect branded by the government as deviant. Human rights groups have urged Indonesia to repeal the blasphemy law, saying it has been used unjustly to prosecute and imprison members of religious minorities, including small Islamic sects.

Indonesia has six state-sanctioned religions: Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, Confucianism, Buddhism and Hinduism.    (dpa)

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