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  • » 12/13/2016, 09.53


    Jakarta, blasphemy trial against Christian governor opens

    Mathias Hariyadi

    The Jakarta Court North, dismissed the charge against Ahok of insulting Islam during a rally. Thousands of onlookers flocked to the event. The defense claims that the governor had lashed out at Muslim politicians who wanted to hinder his re-election as governor, but his words were manipulated.


    Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The first day of the trial for blasphemy that involves the Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama known as "Ahok" was held today. The Court of North Jakarta is hearing proceedings against the politician, a ethnic Chinese Christian, on charges of insulting the Koran and the Islamic faith.

    During a rally held last September he allegedly quoted the 51st Surah Al Maidah (fifth chapter of the Koran), advising Muslims not to vote for a leader of a different faith, asking the Islamic faithful not "use" in the wrong way.

    Through tears, Ahok explained that he had never meant to offend Islam and that his words were addressed to politicians who manipulate the Koran to prevent him being re-elected as governor in the elections of February 2017.

    The defendant requested a video be shown portraying Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid (president of Indonesia from 1999 to 2001) while commenting a distribution of flyers that invite not to vote a political non-Muslim. The request was rejected by the judges and prosecution because "this will be done during the next hearing, when new forensic evidence will come to light."

    Today’s hearing was attended by thousands of spectators, curious to see the first chapter of a process that has resonance across the nation. Since the end of September, the words of the governor have generated protests by Islamists, moderates and radicals.

    On November 4, nearly 100 thousand people took to the streets to demand the condemnation of Ahok and the withdrawal of his candidacy for governor. The protest, which resulted in violence, suffered the infiltration of political agitators with the aim of discrediting President Joko Widodo, an ally of the governor.

    This generated the response of moderate movements, which marched in Jakarta November 30 defending Indonesia's values, of tolerance and unity in diversity.

    Later it was discovered that Buni Yani, a former journalist and professor of communication at the London School of Central Jakarta, manipulated the words spoken by Ahok in the rally, making them offensive to Islam and sparking protests. Yani has been arrested and will go to trial.

    Ahok is one of the few Indonesian political leaders to fight for freedom of conscience. Last June he opposed the obligation imposed on students from Jakarta to wear the Islamic veil. In July 2015, the governor of Jakarta promoted a fight for civil rights of the Ahmadi minority, considered heretical by the majority Sunni Muslims.

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    See also

    24/11/2016 12:08:00 INDONESIA
    Jakarta arrests instigator of the protests against Christian governor

    Buni Yani, a former journalist and professor of communication, is accused of having manipulated the words of Ahok and having incited the radical Muslim groups. A petition calling for his prosecution has collected more than 100 thousand signatures. The fundamentalists promise more protests on 2 December.


    29/04/2017 12:56:00 INDONESIA
    Jakarta, public outpouring of affection and gratitude for Ahok

    Citizens want to express their admiration. Each day thousands go to the town hall. The area in front of the palace flooded with signposts and floral decorations. Radical Islamist group's initiatives against the Christian governor continue. On 9 May the verdict of the blasphemy trial. Ahok: "Disliked and hated because of my faith and my ideas."

    09/05/2017 12:39:00 INDONESIA
    Ahok trial: 'Judgement influenced by current political climate'

    "Politics has interfered with the legal process". "A dangerous decision by judges for the development of law and justice in the country." "How can Indonesia be defined as a 'secular state based on the rule of law?'". "The implications of the sentence go far beyond the court's walls". "Judges have issued a socially ‘friendly 'verdict."

    09/05/2017 09:32:00 INDONESIA
    Ahok condemned to two years for blasphemy. Shock and consternation in Indonesia

    The Jakarta governor has been brought to Cipinang Prison. The sentence is hasher than the demands of the public prosecutors. The case divided the nation and gave force to radical Islamic groups. The contrast between radical movements and moderate groups underscored. The political situation is not beneficial to President Joko Widodo.

    12/05/2017 17:18:00 INDONESIA
    More than 7,000 Muslims, Hindus, and Christians gathered in Bali to pray for Ahok

    Protesters came from different parts of the country and the world. For organiser Didi Kurniawan, "We are gathered here as one family” because Ahok is victim of “a grave injustice”. People are motivated by a desire to defend Indonesia’s pluralism.

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