Why aren’t you helping Alexander Aan?

There’s something easy you can do: sign this petition. Call upon the Indonesian government to respect the freedom and dignity of all its citizens and to free Alexander Aan. You’ve got until the 16th of this month, but don’t procrastinate. You might as well take care of it right now.


  1. kyoseki says

    I can’t help feeling that signing a Whitehouse petition is no more effective than “liking” something on Facebook.

  2. Stacy says

    I signed a White House petition for Aan several weeks ago. Don’t see how a new one is helpful–unless the old one failed to get enough sigs and this is a do-over.

  3. says

    The last thing Alexander Aan needs is for Australians to demand anything from the Indonesian government. Australian support is more likely than not to make things tougher for him. There’s a huge amount of resentment against Australia in Indonesian officialdom.

  4. says

    Australia and Indonesia are allies. According to our official government positions, we are firm friends with strong diplomatic ties blah blah blah. But they don’t much like us, and sometimes that’s warranted – and vice versa. Let’s not talk about East Timor. Or Balibo. Or Arafura oil. Or the so-called “people smugglers”. Or drug trafficking.

  5. txpiper says

    I’m not sure that a date set by the ICCPR and 25,000 signatures will have much of an impact. If you are attracted to the charter commitments, this is a late and peculiar place to be getting started. Voice of the Martyrs stories make this one look rather mundane, but I will sign the petition.

    “The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is a multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 16, 1966, and in force from March 23, 1976. It commits its parties to respect the civil and political rights of individuals, including the right to life, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, electoral rights and rights to due process and a fair trial. As of March 2012, the Covenant had 74 signatories and 167 parties.”

  6. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    US Expat in Canada. I hadn’t signed yet because the first time I read about it I was in a hurry & didn’t have an account set up. Wasn’t sure how much time it would take to create one so I put it off.

    I’ve done it now, but I’ve got to say I’m distressed at the limited number of signatures on this thing. I mean, wow, shouldn’t this be uncontroversial in the states? Don’t we tell each other “You’re going to hell” and not, “You’re going to prison?”

    Guess not.

  7. robro says

    Well, I think I signed the petition. The website said I did. But once again, I wasn’t able to log in without resetting my password. That website is funky. It looks nicer now, but the “UX” sucks.

  8. albertbakker says

    @14 – If I were threatened with a sentence to 2,5 years in an Indonesian prison and 10.000 dollar fine and there was any chance to get some of it repealed by trying to stem milder a bunch of small medieval dicks pretending to be judges, I would sign anything saying that I ‘converted’ to Islam too. Perhaps you are much more of hero and it’s just bad luck you’re born into a system where you probably never get to show it.

  9. rafiqmahmood says

    Thank you very much, PZ, for supporting Alex.

    For those of you who haven’t seen it, here is a note that Alex handed me when I went to see him in prison.

    For more information about Alexander An please see Atheist Alliance International.

    Rafiq Mahmood
    Bogor, Indonesia

  10. jennifer says

    @14 I don’t care if he did convert. I don’t want people to be in prison for having been atheists in the past, any more than I want them to be in prison for currently being atheists.

    I understand the sketicism about the petition. I’m fairly cynical about the epetitions system in my own country, and I wonder why the American government would be interested in what a British person thinks about something going on in Indonesia.

    But the link to Atheist International Alliance above (18) is helpful. It’s possible to make a modest donation towards a legal/support fund for Aan, so I did that instead.

  11. johnmorgan says

    To answer thw queries about non-american signatories. You can indeed sign – as long as you are prepared to forge a USA ZIP code, and to receive a password at your email addy. It took a few minutes, but my signature went through

  12. rafiqmahmood says

    Thank you, Jennifer. Another way to help would be to send a personal message of support to Alex. The AAI are collating messages which I will try to take to him. Last month I took a collection of nearly 50 messages from all over the world. They do make a lot of difference to his will to carry on. Please also consider helping his scholarship fund too. Alex loves maths and statistics and wants to do research in a free and open environment where he is free to be himself. He does have a great deal to contribute.

    Alex’s parents did not know about his (non-)beliefs until he landed in trouble. It was a huge dilemma for Alex not to hurt his parents and they put pressure on him to “re-convert”. After his conviction when it came home to him how pointless was the exercise anyway he strengthened his resolve. He maintains strongly that he has done nothing wrong and he is determined to fight.

    I will give more information and links about Alex later if you wish.

  13. says

    It might be useful to note that this is a citizen generated poll and according to the Terms of Participation a poll must reach particular thresholds in order to “require a response”:

    To cross the first threshold and be searchable within WhiteHouse.gov, a petition must reach 150 signatures within 30 days.

    To cross the second threshold and require a response, a petition must reach 25,000 signatures within 30 days.

    That is the reason for the fast approaching deadline. There are other ways of acting on this and other human rights issues, but how much easier could this one possibly be?

  14. submoron says

    To all and singular who may wonder: I just created an account as a British subject with a UK postcode.
    No excuses: SIGN IT!

  15. anthonyallen says

    I’m not a US citizen, and I feel it would be unethical of me to contribute to something that could affect your government’s foreign policy. However, my MP just happens to also be the Prime Minister.

    I sent him a letter yesterday.

  16. McC2lhu does not have gerseberms says

    Signed and waved in the faces of Fecesbook ‘friends’. It is pretty discouraging to see that this petition hasn’t been thoroughly Pharyngulated. What are you people doing? Olympics are more important than false imprisonment? Curiosity landing was one night. Get with it!

  17. johnmorgan says

    #25 anthonyallen

    I feel it would be unethical of me to contribute to something that could affect your government’s foreign policy

    Do you think the government of the USA takes ethics into consideration when contributing something that could affect UK foreign policy (I’m guessing your a Brit, but you didn’t say. If you’re Irish, a Manxman, from the Channel Is, or even further afield, I apologise) And which of two evils do you go for when you must choose one? I think your selection was bad. Think about Alex Aan and reconsider.

  18. johnmorgan says

    It should be “you’re a Brit” of course. I blame it on ‘Preview’ not telling me