Indonesian charged with blasphemy for atheist post

Indonesian police say a civil servant who posted “God does not exist” on Facebook faces a maximum penalty of five years behind bars for blasphemy.

Thirty-one-year-old Alexander Aan was taken into police custody Friday after his remarks triggered public outcry in West Sumatra province.

He was attacked by a mob on his way to work.

Indonesia, a predominantly Muslim nation of 240 million, recognizes the right to practice five other religions. But atheism is illegal.

Col. Chairul Azis, police chief in the West Sumatran district of Dharmasraya, says Aan was charged because he used the social networking site to spread beliefs that violate the law.

He says Aan also lied on his job application by claiming he was Muslim.

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