A 56-year-old Christian YouTuber was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment on April 6 for allegedly offending Muslims in India.
The International Christian Concern reported that Muhammad Kace was a Muslim cleric before he became a Christian in 2014. Kace began uploading videos on his YouTube Channel against Islam after his conversion.
Prosecutors found he merited imprisonment of 10 years, which the Ciamis District Court Judges of West Java agreed to last April 6. The court was reportedly surrounded by thousands of Muslims who called for harsher prosecution against Kace.
Christianity Daily reported previously that Kace was arrested on August 23, 2021 in Bali for several videos where he spoke of the Prophet Muhammed being surrounded by devils and liars, as well as, for insulting Islam. He was then charged with blasphemy, which is more often imposed by law enforcers against Christians than Muslims who commit the same offense against Christianity.
Kace's harassment continued while he was in prison where he was tortured by an official named Napoleon Bonaparte. The said official was imprisoned for corruption charges. Bonaparte forced Kace to eat his own excrement as reparation for the latter's offense against Allah and Islam.
In an interview with the Union of Catholic Asian News, Kace's lawyer, Martin Lucas Simanjuntak, found the sentence given by the Ciamis District Court judges to Kace as harsh. Simanjuntak revealed that his client would file an appeal against it.
"In other such cases, sentences have been lighter. We will appeal the verdict, or at the very least the sentence imposed on him," Simanjuntak said.
Simanjuntak's comment alluded to the sentence given to Muhammad Yahya Waloni, who was only sentenced to five months imprisonment despite blasphemy charges. Waloni happened to be a former Christian who converted to Islam and became a Muslim cleric. He also violated the country's blasphemy laws by insulting the Bible and Christians. From the start, Waloni's treatment has been different for it took the local police four months before he was arrested.
Meanwhile, Indonesian Conference on Religion and Peace General Secretary Rev. Fr. Johannes Hariyanto agreed with the harshness of the sentence, stressing that it was discriminatory in nature. The priest told UCA News that this may have domino implications on other religious minorities in Indonesia. The priest cited a convicted terrorist named Munarman who was only sentenced to three years imprisonment.
"I am worried about the injustice implication for minority groups. It means that we (religious minorities) still struggle to achieve equality under the law," Hariyanto said.
Human Rights Watch Indonesia Senior Researcher Andreas Harsono in an interview with International Christian Concern raised the inconsistent standards in the implementation of the country's blasphemy laws. Harsono stressed the need for Indonesia's blasphemy law to be repealed. The senior researcher pointed out that both Kace and Waloni need not stay in prison for a day because of the toxic blasphemy law.
Indonesia ranks 28th in Open Doors USA's World Watch List 2022, which identifies the countries most difficult to live in if you are a Christian. Open Doors said the persecution level is very high in Indonesia, where a population of 33,620,000 Christians can be found. Persecution has worsened over the years from Islamic oppression.
"Many converts from Islam experience pressure from their families to return to Islam, although the intensity of the pressure varies according to the place and the individual's family. Only a few converts face physical violence for their Christian faith. There are also converts from Hinduism in Bali," Open Doors USA said.