Authorities in Indonesia arrested a man this week for “blaspheming” against Palestinians in a TikTok video, despite the man’s claim that he meant to disparage Israelis.
Police in the Indonesian province of West Nusa Tenggara said on Tuesday they had arrested a 23-year-old man identified by his first name only, Hilmiadi, for uploading footage of himself to the video app TikTok on May 15 in which he called for the “slaughter” of Palestinian “pigs.”
Hilmiadi has been charged with violations of Indonesia’s Information and Electronic Transactions (ITE) law.
“Article 27 of the ITE stipulates criminal punishment for a person found guilty of distributing, transmitting, and/or making electronic information containing libel accessible to the public,” according to the Jakarta Post. The ITE’s online defamation article carries a maximum sentence of six years in prison and a maximum fine of $57,515.
Indonesia’s ITE law “covers the dissemination of online content deemed blasphemous,” according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
“Article 156(a) of the [Indonesian] Criminal Code criminalizes the expression of ‘hostility, hatred or contempt against’ a religious group,” according to the Commission’s 2019 report.
Hilmiadi now faces up to six years in prison for allegedly blaspheming against Palestinians, a majority Muslim people. Nearly 90 percent of Indonesians identify as Muslim.
“Palestine Pigs. Let’s slaughter. Pigs, Pigs, Pigs,” Hilmiadi said while dancing in the 13-second video clip that landed him in jail on Saturday, according to the Indonesian news site Detik.com.
Hilmiadi published a second video clip to TikTok after his first video went viral in Indonesia on May 15. In the second clip, the young man claims to have mixed up Israelis and Palestinians and says he meant to call for the murder of Israelis.
“Please forgive me for my mistake, and I just misunderstood it. And I misunderstood it, it turns out that the colonizer was Israel. Israel, fuck you. I see, I apologize for my mistake,” Hilmiadi said, according to Detik.com.
Police said they would press forward with charges against Hilmiadi despite his attempt to apologize for the videos.
“Even though he has apologized … Hilmiadi’s case will still be prosecuted,” Eka Wana Prasta, who heads the general crimes unit at the West Nusa Tenggara Regional Police Station, told Detik.com on May 18.