‘Ahok’ gets two years
AN Indonesian judge says the Jakarta governor was ‘found to have legitimately and convincingly conducted a criminal act of blasphemy’. President Joko Widodo urges the people to respect the decision of the court.
JAKARTA: Jakarta’s Christian governor was jailed for two years yesterday after being found guilty of blasphemy, in a shock decision that has stoked concerns over rising religious intolerance in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation.
Islamic hardliners outside the court here shouted “God is greatest!” as news came through that Basuki Tjahaja Purnama would be sent to prison for insulting Islam, a surprisingly harsh punishment after prosecutors recommended only probation.
Purnama, Jakarta’s first nonMuslim governor for half a century and its first ethnic Chinese leader, said he would appeal, as some of his supporters in court burst into tears.
He was transferred to jail and authorities said his deputy would take over running Jakarta for the final months of his term. Hundreds of supporters descended on the prison shouting “Free Ahok”, Purnama’s nickname.
The 50-year-old was hauled to court last year to face trial on charges of insulting the Quran while campaigning for re-election, after the blasphemy accusations sparked a series of mass protests here, spearheaded by radical groups.
The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concern and urged Indonesia to review its blasphemy laws, while the European Union called on Jakarta to uphold its “long-standing tradition of tolerance and pluralism”.
President Joko Widodo, an ally of the governor, urged people to respect the decision of the court but added that “we must also respect the move by Purnama to file an appeal”. AFP