Jakarta gov­er­nor drops ap­peal against con­vic­tion

New Straits Times - - World -

JAKARTA: The wife of Jakarta’s Chris­tian gov­er­nor told a tear­ful press con­fer­ence yes­ter­day her hus­band has with­drawn his ap­peal against a blas­phemy con­vic­tion and two-year jail term for the good of In­done­sia.

But a chal­lenge filed by pros­e­cu­tors against his sen­tence, which was higher than the oneyear sus­pended jail term they had rec­om­mended, will go ahead.

Ba­suki Tja­haja Pur­nama was jailed this month for in­sult­ing the Qu­ran while cam­paign­ing for re­elec­tion, a de­ci­sion that stoked con­cern about ris­ing re­li­gious in­tol­er­ance in the coun­try.

The blas­phemy al­le­ga­tions against Ba­suki, Jakarta’s first non-Mus­lim gov­er­nor for half a cen­tury and first eth­nic Chi­nese leader, sparked protests spear­headed by rad­i­cals. They con­trib­uted to him los­ing last month’s vote to lead the cap­i­tal to a Mus­lim chal­lenger.

The gov­er­nor had vowed to ap­peal but his fam­ily un­ex­pect­edly an­nounced on Mon­day he was drop­ping the chal­lenge.

His wife, Veronica Tan, said the de­ci­sion had been taken to try to end the drama that had di­vided so­ci­ety in re­cent months.

Tan read a let­ter writ­ten by him from be­hind bars, in which he said he had dropped his ap­peal “for the sake of our peo­ple and na­tion”. AFP

PIC REUTERS

Veronica Tan, wife of Jakarta Gov­er­nor Ba­suki Tja­haja Pur­nama, weep­ing dur­ing a news con­fer­ence in Jakarta yes­ter­day.

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