The Indonesian Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by spiritual leader Anand Krishna against a sentence of 2.5 years in prison on a conviction of sexual molestation of a female follower.
The Supreme Court website formally announced the rejection of the appeal by Krishna who operated from a base in Bali prior to his incarceration.
The Supreme Court made its ruling on Wednesday, January 22, 2014, in a session headed by chief judge Dr. Artidjo Alkostar with judges Dr. Salman Luthan and Sri Murwahyuni also presiding.
The controversial case has traveled a circuitous course through the Indonesian legal system. On November 22, 2011, the South Jakarta District Court declared Krishna free of all charges. Despite arguments that a compete acquittal by the Court was not subject to judicial review, prosecutors did appeal the decision eventually overturning the first verdict and ruling that Krishna be sent to prison for 2.5 years.
While trying to exhaust every legal avenue to avoid imprisonment, Krishna took refuge in Bali until he was eventually forcibly removed from his Ubud meditation center and sent to Cipinang Prison on the outskirts of Jakarta on February 16, 2013.
Defenders of Krisha have cast an international media spotlight on the secularist champion and author of more the 150 books who insist charges that Krishna hypnotized and molested a student are insupportable and were trumped up to silence Indonesia's leading spokesman for religious tolerance and pluralist.
Under procedures in place within the Indonesian penal system Krisha could be eligible for early release after serving half of his sentence, a point to be reached in May-June of 2014.
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