Housewife jailed for blasphemy in Indonesia

Siti Aisyah's conviction for blasphemy comes at a time of rising concerns about religious intolerance in Indonesia, where a Christian former Jakarta governor was also jailed for two years on blasphemy charges in May. (AFP)
Updated 23 August 2017

Housewife jailed for blasphemy in Indonesia

JAKARTA: An Indonesian housewife has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison for insulting Islam, an official said Tuesday, the latest conviction under the country’s controversial blasphemy law.
Siti Aisyah, 47, was found guilty on Monday evening of spreading Islamic teachings that differed from local ulemas — religious leaders — and calling them liars for disagreeing with her.
Her conviction comes at a time of rising concerns about religious intolerance in a country traditionally regarded as a bastion of tolerant Islam.
“What she has committed was an insult for our religion, she is dangerous for a religious city like Mataram,” Didiek Jatmiko, presiding judge at Mataram district court in West Nusa Tenggara Province, told AFP.
Aisyah was named a blasphemy suspect in February for promoting an unorthodox version of a Muslim prayer on a website she ran, and in flyers she distributed around Mataram.
She also urged readers of her website not to follow hadiths — words and practices of the Prophet Muhammad — Jatmiko said.
“We sentenced her to two and a half years in prison because she did not regret her crime at all, she is adamant that her belief is the ultimate truth,” Jatmiko said.
Aisyah rejected assistance from a lawyer and did not defend herself from the charges. She told the court she would not appeal the decision.
Rights groups have long campaigned against Indonesia’s archaic blasphemy laws, which they say have been used to persecute religious and ethnic minorities.
Former Jakarta governor Basuki TjaHajja Purnama, who is Christian, was jailed for two years on blasphemy charges in May.
He came under fire from hard-line Islamic groups after he claimed his political opponents had been manipulating voters by using a verse from the Qur'an to urge Muslims not to vote for a non-Muslim leader.
The verdict fueled fears of Indonesia’s moderate brand of Islam coming under threat from increasingly influential radicals.


Spain set for money laundering trial against uncle of Syria’s Assad

Updated 22 November 2019

Spain set for money laundering trial against uncle of Syria’s Assad

  • Rifaat Assad turned against the government in 1984 after a power struggle over who would succeed his older brother, Hafez
  • Rifaat Assad is also facing trial in France for allegedly acquiring millions of euros worth of French property assets

MADRID: Spain is heading toward a money laundering trial against an uncle of Syrian president Bashar Assad, the High Court said on Friday, after an investigating judge finished his probe.
The prosecuting office has ten days to comment on the judge’s recommendation that the case goes ahead, which is considered a formality, after which a trial start date will be set, the court said.
Two years ago, the High Court confiscated over €600 million ($663.24 million) of assets thought to be linked to Rifaat Assad.
He is a former military commander, widely held responsible for crushing an uprising in 1982 against then-president Hafez Assad, Bashar’s father. Many thousands were killed.
Rifaat Assad turned against the government in 1984 after a power struggle over who would succeed his older brother, Hafez. He now lives in exile between France and Britain.
He is also facing trial in France for allegedly acquiring millions of euros worth of French property assets.