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Jailed West Sumatra man posted blasphemous content online due to heartbreak: police

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A man in Serdang Bedagai, West Sumatra was arrested for allegedly posting blasphemous content online, which police say was uploaded due to his frustration over getting dumped in the name of religion.

The suspect, who is known by his nickname Acong, was turned in to the police by his neighbors yesterday, who had become aware of his alleged blasphemous post. The post was reportedly uploaded via a throwaway account on Facebook, which used the handle Sun Go Kong.

After questioning, police named Acong a suspect for blasphemy.

“His motive was romance. The suspect’s love was denied,” Serdang Bedagai Police Chief Robinson Simatupang said today.

“The woman ended up choosing her close friend who is of the same religion.”

Police did not specify exactly what Acong posted and what religion he allegedly blasphemed.

Acong was charged with blasphemy under the Criminal Code (KUHP) and the Information and Electronic Transactions Act (UU ITE). He may face up to six years in prison if found guilty.

Blasphemy is a serious crime in Indonesia, but vague wordings in its legislation has made it prone to be used as a political tool and to persecute religious minorities in recent years. Arguably the most infamous blasphemy conviction was given to former Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian of Chinese descent, who was sentenced to two years in prison in 2017 simply for warning the public not to trust officials who quote the Quran to convince them not to vote for non-Muslim politicians.

Since Ahok’s case, application of the blasphemy law spiked dramatically in Indonesia, but the vast majority of charges and convictions under the law were used against members of minority religious faiths who allegedly blasphemed Islam, and rarely the other way around.

Related: President Jokowi wants police to be more selective in enforcing UU ITE as gov’t mulls revision to controversial law

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