British Parliamentarians Condemn Persecution of Minorities in Indonesia

London, England - In the wake of the lenient sentences handed out to murderers and extremists in Indonesia British parliamentarians have stepped up their call for human rights in Indonesia.

The sentences - ranging from three to six months - were issued last week by a court in Java following the trial of the perpetrators of an attack in February when a frenzied mob publicly hacked to death three Ahmadiyya Muslims in Cikeusik, Indonesia. The attacked was captured on video and shocked the world. Now the trivial sentences for the killers have once again drawn international condemnation.

Rafiq Hayat, National President Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK said:

"By meting out ineffectual sentences, the Indonesian judiciary has essentially condoned mob violence in the name of Islam against Ahmadi Muslims and other groups that extremists take exception to. Victims of recent attacks also include Christians and members of other faiths, but can include anyone who may disagree with the extremists. These verdicts pander to extremists and are nothing short of an attempt to appease them.

"Human Rights groups across the world including Amnesty International, Christian Solidarity Worldwide and Human Rights Watch as well as the lawmakers in the UK, the US and Europe are united in their call for Indonesia to provide security and to uphold the human rights of all its citizens.

"Ahmadi Muslims are facing violence, regional bans, calls for bans by Cabinet Ministers and are already subject to the infamous 2008 Joint Ministerial Decree that places unconstitutional restrictions on them. We urge Indonesia to become a leading light for the Muslim world by permitting true freedom of religion and not to fall prey to the extremist mindset that will fan the flames of intolerance, which will eventually consume the nation."

Siobhain McDonagh MP, Chair of UK All Party Parliamentary Group for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community said:

"I am shocked at the sentences given to the perpetrators of these brutal murders. Indonesia has a reputation for tolerance but these verdicts show a disturbing shift in the country's commitment to freedom of religion and justice.

"After the Cikeusik attacks I tabled an Early Day Motion in parliament that called upon Indonesia to abide by its commitments to freedom of religion, to repeal its 2008 Joint Ministerial decree against the Ahmadiyya Muslim community and to hold those who commit violence against religious communities such as Ahmadiyya Muslims and Christians to be held to account. That motion has been widely supported with 45 MPs signing up in support.

"Indonesia must step up to the challenge of tackling extremists who threaten the peace of the country."

Lord Eric Avebury, Vice-Chair of the UK All Party Parliamentary Group for Human Rights commented that:

"The verdicts are a huge setback for Indonesia and in particular for its justice system. The fact that a longer sentence is being sought by prosecutors for an Ahmadi Muslim who defended his property during the attacks than for those who killed three innocent Ahmadi Muslims is deplorable.

"Almost more frightening than the murders is the creation of a legal penumbra into which the whole of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community has been cast, since the attempt by extremists to have the very existence of this faith made illegal. We see where this has led in Pakistan, with wholesale massacres, assassinations, destruction of mosques, and exclusion from public life, and Indonesia must for its own sake avoid going down the same path.

"Indonesia is a signatory to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, its constitution guarantees freedom of religion but the reality seems to be that the government is caving in to pressure from religious extremists under the threat of violence. The Ahmadiyya Muslim community must be given full freedom of religion as must Christians and all citizens of Indonesia."

The Ahmadiyya Muslim community is a peace-loving global community. It has been in Indonesia since its creation and numbers around 200,000 out of Indonesia's 220 million population.