Indonesia imprisons a woman for saying a Muslim prayer before eating pork in a TikTok video
Lina Lutfiawati, who is also known as Lina Mukherjee sits on the defendant's chair during her trial at court in Palembang, South Sumatra, Indonesia, Tuesday, September 19, 2023. A court in Indonesia on Tuesday sentenced a woman to two years in prison after citing an Muslim prayer before eating pork that was published on her TikTok video. (AP Photo/Mohammad Fadli)

PALEMBANG, Indonesia (AP) — A court in Indonesia has convicted a woman of inciting religious hatred and sentenced her to two years in prison for saying a Muslim prayer and then eating pork — considered forbidden in Islam — on a TikTok video.

Judges at Palembang court in South Sumatra province in Sumatra island also ordered Lina Lutfiawati to pay a fine of 250 million rupiah (US$16,262) in their blasphemy trial verdict on Tuesday

Lutfiawati, who is also known as Lina Mukherjee and who identifies as Muslim, said a brief prayer phrase that translates to “in the name of God” before eating a crispy pork skin in a video that was published in March and was widely viewed.

Once she went on trial on blasphemy charges, she expressed regret and apologised in a post on her social media last month. She apologised again after Tuesday’s verdict.

“I am surprised. I have apologised many times. Actually, I know that I was wrong, but I did not expect the sentence to be two years,” Lutfiawati said after the trial.

Indonesia is the largest Muslim-majority country in the world and consuming pork is considered “haram,” or forbidden in Islam.

The charge of inciting hatred against a religious group is a part of blasphemy laws that critics in Indonesia say have been used to curtail freedom of expression.

“What’s been happening to Lina is not surprising, despite the government’s promises” to protect freedom of expression, said Usman Hamid, the Executive Director of Amnesty International Indonesia. He said the laws also have been used to target religious minorities.

In 2017, Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian, was imprisoned for two years after being found guilty of blasphemy for quoting a verse from the Koran during a re-election campaign speech.

In 2018, an Indonesian court sentenced an ethnic Chinese woman, Meiliana, who complained about a noisy mosque to 18 months in prison for blasphemy.

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