Lina Mukherjee Sentenced to Two Years for Blasphemy: A Controversial Verdict

Lina Mukherjee Faces Two-Year Sentence for Blasphemy

In a shocking turn of events, Lina Mukherjee, a prominent social media influencer on TikTok, has been sentenced to two years in prison and fined IDR 250 million for religious blasphemy. The case revolves around a video where she is seen eating pork while uttering “Bismillah,” leading to a polarized reaction in the online community.

Mixed Reactions to Controversial Verdict

The Palembang District Court’s decision sparked diverse reactions on social media platforms. While some supported the judge’s ruling, considering Lina’s actions as religious blasphemy, others criticized the severity of the sentence, drawing comparisons to punishments for different offenses. The verdict has ignited a broader discussion on the boundaries of freedom of expression and the legal consequences of online content.

Netizens Divided Over the Verdict

Following the court’s decision, netizens took to Twitter to express their views. Many applauded the judge’s stance, emphasizing the importance of respecting religious sentiments. However, dissenting voices questioned the proportionality of the punishment, highlighting discrepancies in sentencing compared to other offenses. The online discourse reflects a broader societal debate on the intersection of digital content, religious sensitivity, and legal consequences.

Case Background and Police Investigation

The controversy began when Lina, a TikTok celebrity, posted a video tasting pork crackling with the phrase “Bismillah.” The video quickly went viral, leading to an ustad in Palembang reporting her for religious blasphemy. The subsequent police investigation, involving language, ITE, and criminal experts, culminated in Lina being charged under Article 28 of the Law Number 11 of 2008 concerning Information and Electronic Transactions (UU ITE).

Lina’s Apology and Legal Charges

Lina, acknowledging the controversy, apologized for her actions. However, the police pressed charges, citing the dissemination of hateful information over religion. The legal proceedings unfolded, ultimately resulting in the court’s decision to impose a two-year prison sentence and a substantial fine on Lina Mukherjee.

Public Response and Criticism of Legal Framework

Netizens’ reactions have exposed deep divisions in public opinion. While some believe the verdict upholds religious values, others criticize the legal framework, arguing that cases of blasphemy are subjective and prone to misuse. Legal experts and activists have raised concerns about the vague interpretation of Article 28 of the ITE Law, emphasizing the need for clear definitions to prevent arbitrary enforcement.

Calls for Legal Reform and Police Prioritization

Civil rights organizations, including YLBHI, have called for legal reform, pointing out the broader trend of using ITE Law to handle blasphemy cases. They argue that the police’s role should focus on addressing more pressing issues, urging a shift in priorities and a reevaluation of the legal framework governing religious blasphemy cases.

In the midst of this controversy, the case of Lina Mukherjee raises significant questions about the intersection of free expression, religious sensitivity, and the evolving landscape of legal consequences in the digital age. The verdict’s implications extend beyond Lina’s case, shaping ongoing discussions about the need for legal clarity and the protection of fundamental rights in the online realm.

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