A mother of two was jailed for 18 months on 24 August under Indonesia’s controversial blasphemy laws, following an incident in which she was alleged to have insulted Islam.
On 22 July 2016 Meiliana, a salt-fish seller in her hometown of Tanjung Balai, spoke in private with the daughter of a caretaker from a neighbouring mosque, asking that the volume of the loudspeakers be lowered. After rumours had spread through the town that she had demanded that Muslims stop doing their call to prayer, a number of attacks were carried out in Tanjung Balai, including on Meiliana’s house and at least 14 Buddhist temples. It is reported that Meiliana celebrates both Buddhist and Christian faiths, and attends a Christian congregation in prison.
Meiliana and her husband, Lian Tiu, were questioned by police after the attacks. While Meiliana was not initially charged, she was required to report to the police once a week for two years. The police eventually handed Meiliana’s case to the blasphemy law office following persistent pressure from Islamists. She was detained on 30 May 2018 and has been imprisoned in Medan since then.