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No breakthrough in efforts to resolve blasphemy cases in Indonesia

Arif Suryobuwono The Jakarta Post Sat, February 29, 2020

Not guilty: Suzethe Margaret (center) and her husband Firdaus (second left) arrive at their home after the Cibinong District Court acquitted Suzethe of blasphemy charges on Feb. 5. The panel of judges found her not guilty because she was suffering from schizophrenia when she entered a mosque with her shoes on and with a dog in June last year. (JP/Theresia Sufa)

JAKARTA – As Indonesia shifts to a less-tolerant, more conservative way of thinking as attested in previous blasphemy cases, it is critical to educate the masses to think independently and avoid unfounded assumptions and judgements based on preconceived ideas and logic created for them by influential (religious) leaders.

Logic has led to the acquittal of all charges of Suzethe Margaret, a schizophrenic Catholic woman previously indicted on blasphemy charges for wearing shoes and bringing a dog inside a mosque, even though she was proven to have committed blasphemy against Islam.

This ruling, handed down on Feb. 5 at the Cibinong District Court in West Java, exactly follows the very reasoning that criminal law expert witness Bintatar Sinaga from the Pakuan University in Bogor offered up in his testimony on Nov. 18, 2019.

Acting as a witness for the defense, Bintatar told the court that prosecutors had successfully proven that one of the required constituent elements of a crime as stated in the indictment filed to the court, that is, the physical act of committing the crime, had been present.

From: THE JAKARTA POST, INDONESIA Sat, February 29, 2020

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