Responding to the guilty verdict and sentence of 10 years imprisonment handed down by the Ciamis District Court for Muhammad Kosman, known as Muhammad Kace, for “spreading false news”, Amnesty International Indonesia executive director Usman Hamid said today:
“No one should be imprisoned simply for expressing their opinion, regardless of how shocking or controversial those opinions may be.”
“Laws on misinformation and blasphemy in Indonesia have too often been misused to repress of the right to freedom of expression and silence critical voices.”
“Indonesian authorities must ensure that people are able to express their opinions without fear of reprisals, including by repealing the laws that consider blasphemy and misinformation as a crime.”
On 25 August 2021, the police arrested Kosman after he uploaded a video on YouTube in which he allegedly insulted the Prophet Muhammad and the religion of Islam.
Kosman was initially charged under Article 28 of the Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law relating to advocacy of hatred and under Article 156 of the Criminal Code for blasphemy. He was later indicted also under Article 14 of Law No. 1/1946 on misinformation.
On 18 September 2021, Kosman was beaten and smeared with excrement while held at the Bareskrim detention center in South Jakarta, allegedly by fellow detainees, including a still-active two-star police general. The police officer has since been indicted for assault under Article 170 of the Criminal Code and the trial is still ongoing.
On 6 April 2022, the Ciamis District Court in West Java found Kosman guilty under Article 14 of Law No. 1/1946 and sentenced him to 10 years imprisonment.