30 July 2012
Atheist Alliance International (AAI) has launched a scholarship fund for imprisoned atheist Alexander Aan to support his intention to study outside Indonesia after his eventual release. Aan was attacked and arrested in January 2012 after posting 'God does not exist' and articles and cartoons about Islam on Facebook. He was convicted by an Indonesian court on 14 June 2012, sentenced to two years and six months jail and fined Rp100 million (c.US$10,600).
“Alexander is a prisoner of conscience who has lost his job and been taken away from his friends and family simply for stating his views.” said AAI President Carlos A. Diaz. “Through thisscholarship fund, we wish to support Alexander's quest to broaden his mind, in an environment that values freedom of thought and expression. We call on the Indonesian government to promptly free Alexander and ensure that freedom of expression and freedom of religion - including the freedom to be non-religious - are supported in Indonesia.”
Indonesia currently requires that all citizens identify themselves as belonging to one of six state-recognized religions: Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism. In addition to prosecuting Aan, the government has cracked down on minority sects and on religions seen as ‘apostates’ of Islam.
Atheist Alliance International is continuing its appeal for funds to assist with Alexander Aan's legal expenses and support his family while he is in jail. Donations for the legal defense fundand scholarship fund can be made at http://www.atheistalliance.org/support-aai/donate.