Indonesia: 10 years in prison for a Christian YouTuber accused of blasphemy

Muhammad Kace is a Christian YouTuber who lives in Indonesia. A former Muslim who became a Christian in 2014, he was imprisoned for blasphemy following the publication of a video that went viral on YouTube last August. Indonesian prosecutors have requested a 10-year prison sentence against him.

muhammad kace, a former Muslim convert to Christianity. He has been detained since last August after being arrested following a series of complaints from Muslim groups who denounced the publication of a video on YouTube in which he declared:

“Mohammed is unknown to God and is only known to his followers because he is surrounded by demons”

According to the police, the Christian YouTuber has uploaded at least "400 videos insulting Islam".

A “severe” sentence of 10 years in prison

UCA News reveals that instead of referring to Indonesia's blasphemy law, prosecutors decided to prosecute Muhammad Kace for 'spreading false information or news in order to intentionally cause public disorder', which carries a 10-year sentence imprisonment instead of the maximum five years provided for by the blasphemy law.

The chief prosecutor of the Ciamis District Court in West Java province, Syahnan Tanjung, said Muhammad Kace uploaded "the videos intentionally to cause public disturbance". "It's outrageous, so it warrants a severe sentence," he continued.

The move drew heavy criticism from the Jakarta-based human rights group Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace. Bonar Tigor Naipospos, the vice-president of the group, accuses the authorities of judging Muhammad Kace more harshly because of his Christian faith.

He notably mentioned a similar case involving a Muslim cleric who had been sentenced to five months in prison in January for having blasphemed against Christians. The cleric in question, Muhammad Yahya Waloni, had claimed in one of his sermons on YouTube that the Bible was a work of fiction.

Bonar Tigor Naipospos called on the authorities not to give in to public pressure and apply the law equally without discrimination.

Discrimination of Christians

International Christian Concern believes that "the difference in severity between the sentence of the Muslim cleric and that of Kace highlights the discrimination against Christians in the Indonesian judicial system".

“Despite claims of promoting religious freedom, the Muslim-majority country has a history of systemic discrimination against non-Muslims in its legal proceedings,” the Christian advocacy organization points out.

Camille Westphal Perrier

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