Ahmad Dhani Prasetyo (Photo: Twitter)
Ahmad Dhani Prasetyo (Photo: Twitter @AHMADDHANIPRAST)

An Indonesian rock musician faces a two-year prison sentence for allegedly committing hate speech against Jakarta’s Christian former governor during his bid for re-election in 2017, reports the Catholic news agency UCAN.

Ahmad Dhani Prasetyo stands accused of spreading hate speech on Twitter, targeting former governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known as “Ahok”, during his March 2017 campaign.

Prosecutors told judges on Monday, 26 November, that Prasetyo posted a tweet, in the midst of the gubernatorial campaign, that said: “Anyone who supports the blasphemer is scum and deserves to be spat at in the face.”

Ahok, a Christian and ethnic Chinese, was sentenced to two years in jail after he was found guilty of blasphemy against Islam in May last year.

In February this year he filed an appeal, which was rejected, even though a communications professor from Jakarta, Buni Yani, had earlier been sentenced to 18 months in jail for editing a video which then went viral, and which formed the basis for the blasphemy allegations against Ahok.

Yani’s sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court on 24 November, according to UCAN, a decision that one of Ahok’s lawyers said was disappointing.

“We respect the Supreme Court’s ruling, but we are disappointed that [Yani] is sentenced only to 1.5 years in prison,” I. Wayan Sudarta told UCAN.

In March it was reported that Ahok might also have been a victim of a sophisticated anti-government campaign of “fake news” and malicious internet robots. An online jihadist network known as the Muslim Cyber Army (MCA) posted “inflammatory content and messages designed to amplify social and religious division, and push a hardline Islamist and anti-government line”, authorities said.

During the trial, Ahok told the court he had been the target of racist and religious attacks since he was elected to public office in 2005.