03 February 2014
Religious Prisoner Alexander Aan Released From Indonesian Prison
The Jakarta News reported on 31 January that atheist Alexander Aan had been released early from his prison sentence of 2-1/2 years for "inciting religious hostility" for posting on his personal Facebook page that "there is no god."
According to the article, Aan was released "on license" (probation), which means that he is required to report regularly and frequently to Indonesian authorities for the foreseeable future. He also still remains liable for a Rp 100 million rupiah (US$8,190) fine imposed as part of his sentence.
Atheist Alliance International (AAI) and other human rights groups, however, remain concerned that Alex is still in danger of being lynched by Muslim vigilante groups who believe that the Koran orders them to kill apostates. Several such group leaders in Indonesia publicly called for his death before he was incarcerated, there is no reason to believe that they have changed their minds since his sentencing. It is unknown whether Alex has been able to rejoin his wife and children yet, or whether it is even safe for him to do so. So it remains an open question whether Alex will be able to return to anything close to a normal life in Indonesia, let alone get a job to pay back his fine.
AAI has been engaged with local and civil Indonesian authorities since Alex' arrest in 2010 to protect Alex' rights and secure him a fair trial, as well as to challenge the constitutionality of Article 28(2) of the Electronic Information and Transaction Law and Criminal Code articles 156a(a) and 156a(b), both of which were used to prosecute Alex and both of which are in direct violation of Articles 18 and 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which Indonesia is a signatory.