Ahok to be arraigned
> Jakarta governor to face blasphemy charges
JAKARTA: The Christian governor of the Indonesian capital will be arraigned to face charges of blasphemy over remarks perceived as insulting to Muslims, police said yesterday.
Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, popularly known by his nickname Ahok, had signed the case files, national police spokesman Rikwanto said.
The attorney-general’s office said on Wednesday it would submit the case to court, but no date for the trial has been set.
At least 150,000 people are expected to flood downtown Jakarta today to protest against Purnama.
A protest on Nov 4 against Purnama attracted about 100,000 demonstrators and ended in violence, with one person killed and hundreds injured in clashes.
The American embassy in Jakarta warned in a message to US citizens that “even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence”.
“Some extremist groups could take advantage of the Dec 2 events to incite or carry out violence,” it said, adding Americans should avoid the demonstration.
The Australian government warned its citizens: “We strongly advise you to avoid all protests as they may turn violent. Maintain a high level of vigilance and security awareness.”
More than 20,000 police and soldiers will be deployed to secure today’s rally which could dwarf the earlier protest against Purnama.
Authorities and rally leaders have agreed to restrict the demonstration to a major park around a downtown monument and the event is scheduled to end by 1pm (2pm in Malaysia).
During the last protest, clashes began in the evening when hardliners refused to disperse, with protesters hurling missiles and police responding with tear gas and water cannon.
Rallies calling for unity organised by security forces on Wednesday attracted thousands of people, including school children, soldiers and police.
The blasphemy allegations stem from remarks made by Purnama in September, when he said his opponents had used a verse from the Quran to deceive voters.
Some Muslims interpret the Quranic text in question as prohibiting them from electing non-Muslims as their leaders, although other Muslims disagree that Purnama’s remarks were blasphemous. – Agencies
Ahok speaks to the media following a meeting at the Attorney-General's Office in Jakarta to discuss the blasphemy case yesterday.