Indonesia: Calls Reemerge for Revocation of Blasphemy Laws

Activists have twice filed judicial reviews against the 1965 blasphemy law with the Constitutional Court in 2013 and 2008, but they were all rejected on the grounds that the law is necessary to maintain public order.

Jakarta. Calls are reemerging to revoke a set of legal provisions on blasphemy in Indonesia, which activists say have often been used to undermine minority ethnic or religious groups.

The calls come amid a blasphemy allegation launched by Muslim hardliners against Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama in the lead-up to next year’s gubernatorial election.

Police have charged the governor, who is seeking re-election, earlier this week for violating the 1965 law on blasphemy.

“The blasphemy laws should be revoked. As long as they’re still in place, they’ll be used to discredit minority groups,” Bahrain of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation said on Friday (18/11).

Activists have twice filed judicial reviews against the 1965 blasphemy law with the Constitutional Court in 2013 and 2008, but they were all rejected on the grounds that the law is necessary to maintain public order.

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