Prosecutors demand 1.5 years for Buddhist woman on ‘azan’ blasphemy charge

By Apriadi Gunawan | Jakarta Post

A Chinese-Indonesian woman of the Buddhist faith in Tanjung Balai, North Sumatra, faces a possible 1.5-year prison sentence after she was charged with blasphemy for saying that the azan (the Islamic call to prayer) that was blasted from a speaker of a mosque near her house was “too loud” and “hurt” her ear.

Her remark, made in 2016, is believed to have triggered one of the worst incidences of sectarian violence in the regency, with Muslims who claimed to have been offended by her words burning several Buddhist temples.

The 44-year-old woman, Meiliana, cried when prosecutors demanded that she be found guilty of blasphemy under Article 156 of the Criminal Code and sentenced to 1.5 years in prison.