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Lenient sentences in Ahmadi case perpetuates impunity: Forum-Asia
Irawaty Wardany, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The lenient sentences of 12 men involved in a brutal attack against members of Ahmadiyah sect in Banten perpetuates impunity in crimes against religious minorities, the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (Forum-Asia) said Wednesday.
“It is appalling that the perpetrators of this serious crime only received six months in prison. They killed three people just because [they practiced] a different faith,” Yap Swee Seng, Forum-Asia executive director, said in a press statement received by The Jakarta Post.
In February 2011, thousands of people formed a mob and attacked dozens of Ahmadiyah followers in Cikeusik village, Banten, killing three and severely injuring six.
On July 28, the Serang District Court sentenced the 12 accused to between only three and six months in jail.
Poengky Indarti, executive director of Imparsial, a member organization of Forum-Asia, shared the same concern. She criticized the way prosecutors handled the case.
Prosecutors only demanded five to seven months’ prison terms for the 12 attackers but, at the same time, have demanded nine months in prison for Ahmadi follower, Deden Sujana, for inciting hatred.
“We fear these light sentences will only encourage even more violent attacks against religious minorities in Indonesia in the future,” said Yap.
Forum-Asia and Imparsial urged the Indonesian government to revoke its 2008 ministerial decree that bans Ahmadiyah activities.
Yap said the decree only served as a justification for hard-liners to launch violent attacks against Ahmadiyah followers.