Australian faces over 1 year in jail for spitting at Indonesian imam

An Australian man captured on CCTV allegedly spitting in the face of an imam in Indonesia could spend more than one year in jail.

Footage purportedly of Brenton Craig Abbas Abdullah McArthur has gone viral on social media in the country. It shows him walking up to Basri Anwar, an imam at a mosque in Bandung, and engaging him in conversation before appearing to spit at him.

Anwar is then seen to run away while McArthur, wearing a baseball cap, leaves the mosque.

Police said McArthur, originally from Perth, Western Australia, and whose visa had expired, was tracked to Soekarno-Hatta Airport, where he was arrested attempting to board a flight home.

Budi Sartono, chief of Bandung’s local police, said: “We immediately asked immigration to stop him and cancel him from leaving the country.

“We immediately picked him up at the airport and took him to Bandung police station for interrogation.”

Kumparan, a local media website, said McArthur, who was accompanied to the police station by Australian consular officials, had been charged under laws relating to carrying out “unpleasant acts and insults,” which carry up to 14 months in jail.

On Instagram, he denied any wrongdoing, claiming he had been the victim of racism.

McArthur said: “Stop crying all your racist tears. I am a Muslim, and this is just racist, threatening a bule (Indonesian term for a foreigner) and laughing being a coward.”

Anwar told an Indonesian news site he believed McArthur was “disturbed” by a recitation of the Qur’an over a loudspeaker.

A spokesperson for Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was ready to provide consular assistance to an Australian man detained in Indonesia.