Indonesian charged with blasphemy for atheist post

A civil servant who posted God does not exist on Facebook faces a maximum penalty of five years behind bars.

Last Updated: Jan 21, 2012, 15:59 PM IST

Padang: Indonesian police say a civil servant who posted "God does not exist" on Facebook faces a maximum penalty of five years behind bars for blasphemy.

Thirty-one-year-old Alexander Aan was taken into police custody on Friday after his remarks triggered public outcry in West Sumatra province.

He was attacked by a mob on his way to work.

Indonesia, a predominantly Muslim nation of 240 million, recognises the right to practice five other religions. But atheism is illegal.

Colonel Chairul Azis, police chief in the West Sumatran district of Dharmasraya, says Aan was charged because he used the social networking site to spread beliefs that violate the law.

He says Aan also lied on his job application by claiming he was Muslim.

Bureau Report