EU, US Express Concern Over Freedom of Religion, Speech in Indonesia After Ahok Verdict

BY : SHEANY

MAY 10, 2017

Jakarta. The European Union delegation to Indonesia called on the government on Tuesday (09/05) to continue its "long-standing tradition of tolerance and pluralism," following the sentencing of incumbent Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama to two years in prison for blasphemy.

In a statement received by the Jakarta Globe, the EU emphasized its agreement with Indonesia to protect and promote freedom of thought, conscience and religion, as well as freedom of expression.

The delegation warns of "laws that criminalize blasphemy when applied in a discriminatory manner can have a serious inhibiting effect on freedom of expression and on freedom of religion or belief."

The North Jakarta District Court made its ruling on Tuesday morning, after a highly divisive, months-long blasphemy trial that has attracted attention from the international community.

The conviction was met by responses from various human rights organizations, international institutions, foreign governments and representatives.

"I know Basuki. I admire his work for Jakarta. I believe he is not anti-Islam [...] [Indonesian] leaders must protect tolerance and harmony," British Ambassador Moazzam Malik tweeted on Tuesday.

In a statement issued by the US State Department in response to the court verdict, it "encourages Indonesian efforts to uphold the freedoms of religion and speech."

The statement added that the United States opposes blasphemy laws anywhere in the world because it jeopardizes fundamental freedoms.

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