Christian Governor in Indonesia found guilty of blasphemy


An Indonesian court has found Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, the Christian governor of Jakarta, guilty of blasphemy against Islam.

After sentencing Purnama, known as Ahok, was taken to Cipinang Penitentiary in Jakarta, which houses criminals including drug dealers and rapists.

The sentence was harsher than what prosecutors had asked for.

They had recommended two years’ probation on a lesser charge, which would have spared Purnama prison time.

“We respect the decision but we can’t accept it,”said Purnama’s defence lawyer I Wayan Sidarta.

“We understand the pressure surrounding this case, but we’re disappointed.”

“We will file an appeal to challenge the decision,”

According to a Jakarta Post report, Wayan also questioned the judges’ decision to detain Purnama as he had been cooperative during the hearing.

“Why should Ahok be detained? Ahok will still be governor, so he won’t escape.”

Under Indonesia’s procedural code, he was not eligible to remain free during his appeal because he had faced a possible sentence of five years or more, according to legal experts.

Blasphemy is a crime in Indonesia, a secular democracy with the world’s largest Muslim population.

The allegation of blasphemy is thought to have played a major part in Purnama’s defeat, last month, by Anies Baswedan, a former minister of education and culture, in an election for Governor.

His deputy is expected to take over until Baswedan takes office in October.

A day before the verdict, the security minister, Wiranto announced that legal action would be taken to disband the Indonesian chapter of Hizb ut-Tahrir, an ultra conservative Islamic political movement that had participated in some of the protests against Purnama.

Hizb ut-Tahrir rejects democratic governance and says it aims to create a Pan-Islamic state, by force if necessary.


Additional reading

News category: Asia Pacific.

Tags: , , ,