Conflict & Justice

Indonesia's most absurd prison sentence?


YouTube video of mob violence against Islamic sect Ahmadiyya



In Indonesia, you can rally 1,500 people to burn down a religious minority's settlement, beat their followers to death with rocks, get caught on tape committing the deed and only catch about five to seven months in jail.

If you're a member of the downtrodden Ahmadiyya sect -- Muslims who claim Mohammed is not the final prophet -- you can rush to defend your village, catch a harsh beating and somehow catch a six month prison sentence for your troubles.

According to the Jakarta Globe, that's how Indonesian courts doled out punishment for a mob attack in February. A man named Deden Sujana will spend six months in prison for trying to stop a rabble of hardliners, whose attack on an Ahmadiyya village left three dead.

His crime? Trying to stop the mob. They "nearly took off his arm" in the attack, reports the Globe, but courts found him guilty of inciting violence. Courts had only last month sentenced the men who led the attack to prison terms on only five to seven months.

The message sent by authorities is that mobs who hate this Islamic sect for holding "impure" beliefs are free to assault its followers.

Vigilantes appear to have received the message loud and clear: just days ago, according to the Globe, they staged yet another attack against the sect that left followers and a few defenders injured.