The harsh sentence Kace faces, and the brutally inhumane treatment he has been subjected to in prison, is an outrage to the principle of the freedom of conscience.
Muhammad Kace, 56, is a former Muslim cleric who converted to Christianity in 2014. After his conversion, he began uploading videos to YouTube criticizing his former faith. He was arrested in Bali last August, following a sermon video in which he allegedly insulted the prophet Muhammad.
On April 6, the judges of Ciamis District Court in West Java province agreed with prosecutors to slap him with a 10-year sentence for his offenses. Thousands of Muslims surrounded the court in support of the harsher prosecution of Kace.
During his detention, Kace was treated in an inhumane way; he was allegedly beaten and tortured by a police official named Napoleon Bonaparte who was detained in the same prison due to a corruption case. Bonaparte forced Kace to eat his excrement. The police named five suspects in the alleged beating and torture of him after his maltreatment was revealed to the public.
According to UCA News, Martin Lucas Simanjuntak, Kace’s lawyer, said the sentence was harsh and that his client would appeal the sentence.
“In other such cases, sentences have been lighter,” he said. “We will appeal the verdict, or at the very least the sentence imposed on him.”
Indonesia ranks 28th in Open Doors USA's World Watch List 2022, which identifies the countries most difficult to live in if you are a Christian. Open Doors said the persecution level is very high in Indonesia, where a population of 33,620,000 Christians can be found. Persecution has worsened over the years from Islamic oppression.
"Many converts from Islam experience pressure from their families to return to Islam, although the intensity of the pressure varies according to the place and the individual's family. Only a few converts face physical violence for their Christian faith. There are also converts from Hinduism in Bali," Open Doors USA said.