Is­lamist who ig­nited anti-Ahok fury jailed

The Australian - - WORLD - NIVELL RAYDA

An In­done­sian court handed a 1½-year prison sen­tence to an Is­lamist whose edit­ing of a speech by for­mer Jakarta gov­er­nor Ba­suki “Ahok” Tja­haja Pur­nama led to the eth­nic Chi­nese Chris­tian’s jail­ing for blas­phemy.

A panel five of judges ruled Yani was guilty of in­cit­ing eth­nic, re­li­gious, racial and class ten­sion when his edit­ing of Ahok’s speech made the then gov­er­nor’s com­ment about a Ko­ranic verse ap­pear worse than it re­ally was.

Af­ter the sen­tence, Buni got up, punched a fist into the air and shouted “Al­lah is great”.

His lawyer, Ald­win Ra­ha­dian, said his client would ap­peal his con­vic­tion and sen­tence.

Ear­lier Buni said the case against him was a sham. “I have taken the most sa­cred of oaths in Is­lam that I have never edited a video. If any­one ac­cuses me of such and if any­one con­victs me of such may they feel God’s wrath,” he told the court to the ap­plause of his sup­port­ers.

The panel said the con­tro­versy about Ahok’s re­marks were sparked in Oc­to­ber last year when Yani up­loaded the video to his Face­book ac­count with his in­flam­ma­tory cap­tions, trig­ger­ing mass protests by Is­lamists.

“There was no con­tro­versy when the ac­tual speech was made. Con­tro­versy only be­gan when the Face­book post posted by the de­fen­dant Buni Yani went vi­ral on­line,” the judges said.

In light­hearted com­ments in Septem­ber last year, Ahok had chal­lenged a re­li­gious edict from con­ser­va­tive cler­ics that the Ko­ran for­bade Mus­lims from vot­ing for non-Mus­lims.

Yes­ter­day’s rul­ing seemed at odds with the for­mer gov­er­nor’s con­vic­tion and sen­tence to two years’ jail by an­other court in May, which ar­gues that even with­out Yani’s edit­ing, Ahok had blas­phemed by ques­tion­ing the verse’s in­ter­pre­ta­tion.

Po­lice de­ployed at least 1000 of­fi­cers to safe­guard yes­ter­day’s pro­ceed­ings with ar­moured ve­hi­cles sta­tioned and barbed­wired fences erected in front of the makeshift court­house in the city of Ban­dung, 150km east of Jakarta.

Be­fore the blas­phemy al­le­ga­tions, Ahok was the over­whelm­ing favourite for re­elec­tion, due to his ef­forts to re­form Jakarta’s cor­rup­tion­plagued bu­reau­cracy.

Ahok was de­feated in the sec­ond round of the Jakarta elec­tion in April by Mus­lim can­di­date Anies Baswedan, who has been ac­cused of play­ing up his Mus­lim cre­den­tials and pan­der­ing to hard line Is­lamists to win the elec­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.