Indonesian Court Jails 17 in Religious Rampage

Posted June 9th, 2011 at 1:30 pm (UTC-5)
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An Indonesian court has jailed 17 Muslim men for up to five months for a rampage in which two Christian churches were burned and a third heavily damaged to protest what rioters said was a lenient jail sentence for a man accused of insulting Islam.

The defendants were part of a crowd estimated at more than 1,500 people who attacked police in February outside a courthouse in the central Javanese town of Temanggung. At the time, authorities said three people were stabbed and beaten to death in the melee.

The jail terms handed down Thursday were lighter than the 10-month sentences sought by prosecutors.

Nine more defendants are expected to be sentenced next week.

Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, has a reputation for religious tolerance. But small hardline factions have been growing increasingly aggressive in recent years.