title image for Alexander Aan

Case: Alexander Aan

Alexander Aan, 30, is a former Indonesian civil servant who in January 2012 posted messages to Facebook expressing his lack of belief in a god, as well as several cartoons about the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

As a result, Aan was attacked at his workplace by an angry mob. When police arrived, they arrested Aan and charged him with blasphemy, promoting atheism, lying on an official government document (Indonesia requires its citizens to claim one of six official religions; Aan marked Islam), and disseminating information aimed at inciting religious hatred or hostility.

On June 15, 2012, a district court found Aan guilty of incitement and sentenced him to two years and six months in prison. He was also fined 100 million rupiah (US $10,600). The Center for Inquiry, Atheist Alliance International, Amnesty International, and several other groups formally condemned Aan's sentencing and worked to secure his freedom.

On January 27, 2014, Aan was released after serving 18 months of his sentence. However, Aan is required to report regularly and frequently to Indonesian authorities, and is vulnerable to vigilante retribution.