An Indonesian atheist was lawfully jailed for two-and-a-half years after being accused of blaspheming Islam, the Supreme Court decided in a ruling posted on its website on Tuesday.
The court said it upheld the sentence for former civil servant Alexander Aan, who was found guilty of disseminating cartoons portraying the Prophet Muhammad and saying on Facebook that “God does not exist.”
“The defendant was proven to have spread information which blasphemes the Prophet Muhammad in eleven cartoons,” the court said in its ruling.
Alexander, who worked as a civil servant at a local government office in West Sumatra, was beaten by a mob prior to being taken to jail, after posting the status and cartoons.
The Indonesian state requires every citizen to believe in Allah and Muhammad.
The Muaro district court in June 2012 sentenced him to two-and-a-half years in jail and a Rp 100 million ($8,500) fine for inciting religious hatred. The sentence was upheld by the West Sumatera High Court in August 2012.
The case sparked international outrage and Alexander was labeled a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International. He was released from jail in January this year.