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Indonesian mob attack victim convicted of inciting violence

By Kathy Quiano, CNN
  • Deden Sudjana is a member of the Ahmadiyah religious minority
  • He will serve more time than the man who stabbed him
  • He says the justice system was pressured

Jakarta, Indonesia (CNN) -- An Indonesian man critically injured in a violent attack by a mob of hard-liners was convicted Monday for inciting the violence.

He was also found guilty of disobeying police officers and maltreatment. Deden Sudjana, whose hand was almost severed in the assault, will serve six months in jail, more time than some of his attackers.

On February 6, a mob of about 1,500 people, attacked about 20 followers of the minority sect Ahmadiyah in Cikeusik, Banten province. Three people were killed and five others seriously injured.

"I am really disappointed. Three of my brothers were cruelly, barbarically killed", Sudjana told CNN. "I was a victim and did not deserve to be a suspect", he added.

In a separate trial that ended last month, the court convicted 12 Indonesians and sentenced them to six months or less for their roles in the attack. Video of the brutal assault was recorded and uploaded on the Internet.

None of the assailants were charged with murder or manslaughter.

The crowd opposed the presence of the sect in the village and demanded the group stop its activities. Sudjana was accused of disobeying police orders for his group to leave the area.

"This showed how weak Indonesian law is. The one who stabbed me was sentenced to five months. The court was not independent. They were pressured by public figures who want the Ahmadiyah to be dissolved. This country failed to protect religious freedom", Sudjana said.

Critics decried the light sentences given to the attackers and Sudjana's conviction.

"The inconsistency between the trials of those who killed the Ahmadiyah and the trial of Deden Sujana is appalling and smacks of injustice," said Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

"The outcome of these trials show that the Indonesian government should clean up its justice system --the government should establish an independent commission to look into the conduct of police, prosecutors and judges during this whole sorry episode. The failure to hold the perpetrators of religious violence accountable just leads to more violence".

Many Muslims consider the sect -- which believes Mohammed is not the last prophet -- as holding heretical beliefs. Attacks on the sect continue and have increased in recent years. Hard-line Islamic groups have called for the government to disband Ahmadiyah in Indonesia.

Meidyana Rayana contributed to this report