Not Quite, Mr. President

Monday, November 20, 2006

Not Quite, Mr. President

Arriving in Indonesia to massive protests, President Bush offered this comment on the world's most populous majority-Muslim nation:
"I applaud a society where people are free to express their opinion."
Not quite, Mr. President.

Expressing one's opinion in Indonesia can be lethal. Just last month, the country's supreme court acquitted the only person who had been convicted in the 2004 murder of leading human rights activist Munir Said Thalib. Human Rights Watch called the acquittal "a huge blow for human rights protection," adding that the evidence against the defendant was "overwhelming."

This incident last November also shows that the current Indonesian government is far from comfortable when it comes to the expression of opinions with which it doesn't agree.

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