Apriadi Gunawan, Medan – The Medan District Court in North Sumatra sentenced a YouTuber to one year in prison on Thursday for blasphemy against Islam. State prosecutors had demanded a 1.5-year penalty.
Presiding judge Sulhanuddin said defendant Rudi Simamora had been found guilty of violating a provision in the 2008 Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law that forbids hate speech against any ethnicity, religion or race or that attacks inter-group relations.
Violations carry a maximum prison term of 10 years.
Sulhanuddin said the mitigating factors in the sentence were that the defendant had admitted and expressed regret for the violation. "I accept [the sentence], Your Honor," Rudy told the court.
State prosecutors also said they accepted the sentence.
Rudy was charged and arrested on Nov. 6, 2022, following an investigation by the Medan Police cybercrime unit that uncovered the content that was later ruled blasphemous on YouTube and TikTok videos.
In June, the Jakarta administration stripped the Holywings bar and restaurant chain in Jakarta of its operating permit after police charged six employees with blasphemy over a promotion offering free drinks for people named Muhammad or Maria.
The drinks promotion at the Holywings chain prompted a police investigation after complaints by religious groups.
In a social media post that was later deleted, the chain offered a free bottle of gin for men named Muhammad and women named Maria on a particular day.
Critics have said Indonesia's strict blasphemy laws are being used to erode its long-standing values of tolerance and diversity. (dre)