Two people were killed and 22 injured in a bombing of the Bethel Church in Solo, Central Java, Indonesia on September 25 following services. The bomber, reported to be Ahmad Yosepa Hayat, died during the attack. Hayat was among five suspects wanted by police for their involvement in a suicide bombing in Cirebon, West Java in April 2011 that targeted a mosque in a police compound and wounded 28 people.
A second brutal mob attack on Indonesia’s Ahmadiyya last week, as well as the harsh sentencing of an Ahmadi victim in a previous attack, are further proof of a troubling downward spiral in religious freedom in Indonesia. Freedom House calls on the Indonesian government to step up its efforts to protect its minority faith communities through effective law enforcement, appropriate and unbiased application of the law, and an active role in promoting religious tolerance at all levels.
Freedom House today expressed serious concern over a decision by the government of Kazakhstan to return control of its penitentiary system from the civilian Ministry of Justice to the military-controlled Ministry of Internal Affairs. Freedom House joins other civil society and international organizations in calling on authorities to immediately reverse this decision in an effort to promote a fair and balanced penitentiary system that more humanely treats prisoners.
Saleem Shahzad, a journalist found dead in Islamabad, Pakistan on May 31, is likely the victim of a deliberate attempt by ISI, Pakistani intelligence services, to silence him, according to U.S. intelligence sources, despite public denial by Pakistani officials. It is believed that Shahzad’s piece for Asia Times on al-Qaeda’s retaliation after arrested naval officers were accused of ties to the group, written three days before his disappearance, was a factor in the killing.