Jakarta court jails siblings for online hate speech targeting ex-governor Ahok

JAKARTA (Jakarta Post/Asia News Network) - The South Jakarta District Court has found a man guilty of spreading hate speech on social media against non-active Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama and his brother guilty of the same crime against religious figures.

The siblings, Jamran and Rizal, were each sentenced to six months and 15 days in prison.

Both Jamran and Rizal were also ordered to pay Rp 10 million (US$752.60) in fines.

The judges handling Jamran's case said that Jamran was guilty of repeatedly attacking Ahok for his Chinese ethnicity on social media--a violation of the Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law.

"His repeated posts against Ahok were conducted systematically and referred to Ahok and his Chinese ethnicity," judge Ratmoho said as quoted by kompas.com on Monday.

His provocative posts were not supported by facts and could lead to conflict, the judge said.

Meanwhile, judges presiding over Rizal's case said that Rizal was guilty of posting provocative writings that discredited certain religious figures on his Facebook and Twitter accounts.

He had violated the ITE Law, the judges said.

The sentences and fines against the siblings were lower than what was demanded by prosecutors.

Prosecutors demanded a one-year prison sentence and Rp 75 million fine for Jamran and 10 months' prison sentence and Rp 50 million fine for Rizal.

They were arrested along with treason suspects on Dec 2 last year, hours before a mass rally against Ahok.

On that day, the police arrested, among others, activists Ratna Sarumpaet, Rachmawati Soekarnoputri, Sri Bintang Pamungkas and Firza Husein on allegations of treason.