Subsequent to declaring his atheism and posting satirical material critical of Islam on Facebook, thirty-year-old Alexander Aan, a civil servant in West Sumatra, was attacked and beaten by an angry mob on January 18, 2012, and then arrested by Indonesian authorities for the crimes of blasphemy and encouraging atheism. On June 14 he was convicted of “inciting religious hatred,” with a sentence of two and a half years in prison and a fine of over $10,000(US). 

The Center for Inquiry (CFI), a leading international organization advocating for science, reason, and secular values, will protest Aan’s imprisonment outside the Indonesian Consulate in New York City on Friday, July 6, at 12:30 p.m. EST and is encouraging all those who believe in basic human freedoms to take part in this demonstration. 

“Being an atheist should not be a crime,” declared Ronald A. Lindsay, president and CEO of CFI. “The only crime here is that which the Indonesian government has perpetrated against Alexander Aan. The persecution of any person simply for exercising his or her freedom to speak and believe—or not believe—as he or she chooses is unacceptable, and we will not be silent until Alex has his freedoms restored.”

CFI, which opposes any restrictions on the freedoms of expression and belief, has been working to gather support for Aan since his arrest, circulating petitions to the Indonesian government and demanding Aan’s release both in a letter to the country’s ambassador and by a demonstration outside the Indonesian Embassy in Washington last month. 

WHAT: Protest of the Imprisonment of Alexander Aan WHERE: Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia, 5 East 68th Street, New York WHEN: Friday, July 6, 2012, at 12:30 p.m. EST. WHO: Organized by the Center for Inquiry, including CFI Director of the Office of Public Policy Michael De Dora, CFI NYC branch Executive Director Stephanie Le Roy, CFI–Canada Director Michael Payton, and others TBA. Further details here

Contact: Paul Fidalgo
Phone: (207) 358-9785
E-mail: press@centerforinquiry.net