Indonesian Justice Denied
Indonesia Court Marginalizes Muslim Minority

A member of a minority Islamic sect who defended his comrades against an attempted lynch has drawn a heavier sentence than his assailants

Aryeh ben Hayim,

East Java Mosque
East Java Mosque

The judiciary system of Indonesia country with 240 million Moslems came under attack from foreign governments and human rights organizations. The protests were issued in response to the sentencing of Deden Sudjana a member of the half-million strong Ahmadiyah sect who defended himself and others against a lynch mob on February 6.

Sudjana was hit with a machete and almost had his hand severed during the attack, when he and about 20 Ahmadiyah followers against more than 1,000 fanatics in the village of Cikeusik, west Java. The horrifying sequence of events made it to YouTube.

He was sentenced to six months imprisonment twice the sentence meted out to the attackers who bludgeoned three members of the minority sect to death. The judges ruled that he should have heeded the evacuation order and fled.

I had hoped the state and the judicial system could protect minorities, but I see now that I was wrong," said Sudjana after the verdict was announced"I'm the victim," he told reporters. "Why am I getting a higher sentence than some of the perpetrators?"

The judges claimed that they had extended leniency and had not convicted the defendant of incitement. “We have considered the defendant is also a victim in the attack. He sustained injuries, his car was burned down. So we have delivered a sentence lower than what the prosecution is asking for,” said the presiding judge..

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters."We again encourage Indonesia to defend its tradition of tolerance for all religions, a tradition praised by President (Barack) Obama in his November 2010 visit to Jakarta."