An Indonesian court has jailed three leaders of a group that Islamic clerics had called a deviant religious organization for up to five years for blasphemy, sparking condemnation from human rights groups over the targeting of minorities.
The now disbanded Gafatar hit the headlines after dozens of people, who had been reported missing by relatives, were believed to have joined. Last year, hundreds of members had to be evacuated from their West Kalimantan base after being attacked by residents who opposed their beliefs.
Gafatar was labeled by Indonesia’s Ulema Council a deviant sect and authorities had described its teachings as “dangerous”. People associated with the group say it is a social organization, not religious.
A panel of judges at the East Jakarta court on Tuesday jailed Mahful Muis Tumanurung and Ahmad Mussadeq for five years and Andry Cahya for three years for blasphemy. The men were cleared of treason charges.