11/16/2017, 17.01
INDONESIA
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Ahok’s accuser is convicted of hate speech

by Mathias Hariyadi

The sentence is more lenient than the one demanded by the public prosecutor. Buni Yani posted comments to a video he altered. The latter triggered Islamist violence and influenced an election. The images also led the former Christian governor to a two-year prison sentence for blasphemy.

Bandung (AsiaNews) - The district court in Bandung, capital of West Java province, sentenced Buni Yani (pictured) to 18 months in prison for making discriminatory remarks against Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, Jakarta’s former governor.

Buni Yani was found guilty of altering a September 2016 video in which Ahok warns residents of the Thousand Islands Regency against those who use Qurʾānic verses for political gain.

Once the tampered tape was posted online, Buni posted comments that were tantamount of hate speech. This sparked violent protests by radical Islamic groups and contributed to Ahok’s defeat even though he was the favourite in last April's elections for the governorship of the Indonesian capital.

Following pressure s from extremists, Ahok was tried and found guilty of defaming Islam and sentenced to two years in jail on May 9 at the end of a controversial trial.

Chief Judge M Saptono’s sentence was lighter than the one demanded by the public prosecutor: two years in prison and a fine of US$ 7,400.

During the 19 hearings, the accused refused to admit his guilt, despite the fact that his comments caused sectarian violence between different religious communities.

Lawyers for Jakarta’s former governor slammed the 18-month sentence for hate speech as too lenient. "Buni Yani caused chaos. In light of this ruling, Ahok should not have been punished at all," said Wayan Sudirta. Teguh Samudra also found it hard to believe. The sentence Buni’s "should have been longer than that of Ahok!"

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