Update 1st February 2012: Updated letter with supporters.
Update 8th February 2012: Physical letter finalized with current supporters. This web petition will however remain open for as long as necessary.
To all progressive Malaysians. As we speak, 31-year-old Alexander Aan is languishing in a prison cell in Indonesia facing a possible 5-year prison sentence for posting “God does not exist” on Facebook. On Wednesday, the 18th of January 2012, a mob attacked Alexander at his office at the Dharmasraya Development Planning Board. He is now under “protective police custody”1. It is unfortunate that instead of bringing his assailants to justice, the lawmen in Indonesia have seen fit to prosecute him for his beliefs. Dharmasraya Police Chief Sr. Comr. Chairul Aziz was quoted by the Jakarta Globe that Alexander Aan had, by using passages from the Koran to explain his disbelief in god, met “the criteria of tainting religion, in this case Islam”2.
In Indonesia, it is illegal to be an atheist, and a person is forced to choose between the state-approved religions which are Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Hinduism3,4. This is a blatant violation of a person’s freedom of belief and freedom to disbelieve. The further actions of the Indonesian law enforcement are also violations of a person’s freedom of expression.
In the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights5: Article 18 states Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance. Article 19 states Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. We hope you will help contribute to the defence of Alexander where only a global outcry can make an impact. Donate to the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (http://ex-muslim.org.uk/donate/) who are collecting funds on behalf of supporters in Indonesia to help in Alexander's defence and possible need for relocation or Atheist Alliance International's legal and support fund for Alexander Aan (https://www.atheistalliance.org/support-aai/donate) and send an email to email@example.com with the exact donation amount you donated for verification6.
We will also be delivering the following letter to the Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the Indonesian Minister of Justice and Human Rights, and the Indonesian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur. We hope for your voice in our call to support Alexander Aan's immediate release and the guarantee of his safety along with the prosecution of the perpetrators who have and are still threatening his well-being. No matter what belief you may hold, it should be clear that by endorsing this letter to the following parties, you are supporting the universal right of a human being to believe as they wish and to speak their mind without fear.
“Dear Mr. President / The Honourable Minister of Justice and Human Rights / The Honourable Ambassador KPH Rusdihardjo,
Subject: Call for Justice for Alexander Aan
We declare that the continued incarceration of Alexander Aan and the threat of bringing the force of a blasphemy law upon this person for the crime of expressing a disbelief in the religion of Islam to be an unacceptable violation of his freedom of expression as well as his freedom of belief.
We hope you, as the leader / representative of Indonesia, a country that is quickly developing into one of the most successful nations in the world, will take steps leading to concrete action that will show the world that Indonesia has truly become a developed and civilised country where a person may be free to believe and disbelieve as they please as well as the freedom to express their opinion without the fear of incarceration, violence, and any other repercussions that would impede a person's right to speak freely.
We suggest the immediate actions as follows:
Yours with hope and sincerity,
Aaron Leo Chung Sheng, Alex Wilcox, Andre Matthias Gent, Andrian, Arvinder Singh, Brandon Zakaria, Chan Ju Ping, Charles W.K. Cheng, Cheryl Cheah Wren Fei, Chrystoph Damien, Claire Wong Pei Shan, Derryk Gan, Goh Chong Yang, Ho Kian Kheong, Jimmy Yeap, Juli Mohd Jalaludin, Kok Sen Wai, Lee Yan Kuen, Nathalie Annette Kee Xuan Li, Ong Eng Wai, Pang Zi Yang, Samuel Loh Ie Tzan, Shizu Ling, Sunny Sun (Guangdong, China), Teoh Han Hui, Terry Lee High Guan, Wendy Wy Chee Wan, William Kang, Ye Wheen Lim, Zurairi Abd Rahman, and 10 other Malaysians.
Addresses to be mailed to:
Dr. H. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Jl. Alternatif Cibubur Puri Cikeas Indah
No. 2 Desa Nagrag Kec.
Gunung Putri Kab. Bogor – 16967 Indonesia
H. Patrialis Akbar, SH.
Gd. Nusantara I Lt. 20 R. 2031
Jl. Gatot Subroto Gd.
DPR/MPR RI Jakarta (Office)
Indonesian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
No. 233, Jalan Tun Razak
P.O.Box 10889 Kuala Lumpur
Those who wish to support Alexander Aan anonymously and publicly can also add their voice to the following petition: https://www.change.org/petitions/drop-charges-against-alex-aan-for-blaspheming-islam
2 Pasandaran, Camelia. 20Th January 2012. Dismay After Indonesian Atheist Charged with Blasphemy. The Jakarta Globe. http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/dismay-after-indonesian-atheist-char...
3 Wiin, Patrick. 19Th January 2012. Facebook in Indonesia: “God Doesn't Exist” Post brings on Harsh Beating. Global Post. http://www.globalpost.com/http%3A/%252Fwww.globalpost.com/dispatches/glo...
4 Protalinski, Emil. 21St January 2012. Man Faces Five Years for 'God does not exist' Facebook Post. ZD Net. https://www.zdnet.com/blog/facebook/man-faces-five-years-for-8216god-doe...