Elderly Prisoners Face Beatings by Fellow Inmates, Hopelessness as Attorney Drops Case
10/3/2013 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has confirmed that two Indonesian Christians were sentenced to three years in prison on August 2nd for conducting evangelistic activities among Muslims. The Christians, known as Kashfi Rosyid and Jalaudin, are brothers and were arrested by police on March 20th in Sukabumi, West Java,after an angry mob of approximately 200 Muslims attacked their home.
Last Thursday, ICC sources reported that Mr. Rosyid, age 58, and Mr. Jalaudin, age 65, have both been beaten at least once by fellow inmates since their imprisonment, though the exact motive behind the attacks remains unclear. In addition, ICC sources report that the attorney representing the two Christians has given up on appealing their three- year prison sentence after facing significant pressure from local authorities.
ICC sources also report that Mr. Rosyid’s family was “chased out of their village,” and that their current whereabouts are unknown. Mr. Jalaudin’s family was forced to resettle in an undisclosed location in West Java. The families have received some support from outside organizations, but are reportedly still struggling to cope with the imprisonment of Mr. Rosyid and Mr. Jalaudin. According to one source, the two men had helped to convert more than 100 Muslims to Christianity in the area around their home before their arrest.
The imprisonment of the two Christians comes as a startling shock in a nation long viewed as one of the world’s most tolerant Muslim-majority nations. In 2010, President Barak Obama lauded Indonesia as a model of religious tolerance. In May of this year, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono accepted a highly disputed award from the New York-based Appeal of Conscience Foundation for his promotion of religious tolerance. The award was accepted despite protests by religious minorities, who have seen incidents of violence and discrimination rise rapidly over the last several years.
While the imprisonment of Christians for evangelistic activities in Indonesia is an extremely rare occurrence, other forms of anti-Christian discrimination are not. In 2012, ICC estimated at least 50 Christian churches were forcibly shut down by local governments across Indonesia under pressure from radicalized political groups, such as the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI).
Ryan Morgan, International Christian Concern’s Regional Manager for Southeast Asia, said “The arrest and imprisonment of Mr. Rosyid and Mr. Jalaudin for sharing their religious beliefs is completely unacceptable and should rightly startle the international community. Their imprisonment is a blatant violation of basic human liberties, a serious miscarriage of justice, and a slap in the face to the tolerance espoused by Indonesia’s leaders and protected under articles 28 and 29 of the Indonesian Constitution. We call on the government of Indonesia to immediately intervene on their behalf and to secure their release as quickly as possible.”
An ICC photo of the August 2nd court proceedings against Mr. Kashfi Rosyid and Mr. Jalaudin
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