02/06/2020 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – On Wednesday, an Indonesian court acquitted a woman indicted earlier for blasphemy against Islam for entering a mosque wearing shoes and carrying a dog, on the grounds that she was not mentally fit to be held responsible for her actions.
A video of the Catholic woman, Suzethe Margaret, entering a mosque wearing shoes before letting her dog run around went viral last July. In the Muslim-majority country, where many consider dogs to be impure, many considered her actions to be extremely offensive.
In the video, the visibly distressed woman enters the mosque in Bogor with her shoes on, stating she is Catholic and claiming her husband is due to be married in the mosque later that day.
She accuses the mosque of converting him to Islam as the dog roams around. People from the mosque say they have no knowledge of the wedding. When told to leave, the woman then kicks a guard.
The judicial panel of the Cibinong District Court, in their verdict, found that the defendant Suzethe Margaret, 52, “had convincingly committed a religious blasphemy.”
However, based on witness testimony and evidence, the panel of judges also found that the defendant was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2013, a chronic mental health disorder that affects cognitive function, emotions and behavior and is considered as one of the most severe forms of mental illness.
As a result, she could not be held responsible and sentenced to eight months of imprisonment as demanded by the prosecutors.
The decision, however, was immediately criticized by a local Muslim leader. Kyodo news reports that Ruslan Sunardi expressed his disappointment, casting doubt on diminished capacity defense and saying she should have been sentenced.
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