11/24/2016, 12.08
INDONESIA

Jakarta arrests instigator of the protests against Christian governor

by Mathias Hariyadi

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.

 

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Indonesian police have arrested and named as suspect Buni Yani, a former journalist and professor of communications, accused of having incited the protests on 4 November against the Christian governor of Jakarta.

In the days after the event, a petition calling for a trial against Yani had collected more than 100 thousand signatures. The former journalist has confessed to having manipulated the words of Tjahaja Basuki Purnama known as "Ahok", making them seem an insult to Islam and generating the blasphemy charges against the politician.

Yani has been included in the list of suspects after several hours of questioning by police. He is charged with  defamation and manipulation in religious matters, one of the four dimensions protected by former President Suharto (1967-1998).

Anyone who was guilty of the crime in one of the so-called Sara (Suku, ethnicity, Agama, religion, Ras, race and Adat-istiadat, local customs) was subject to  severe punishment. Now, after the Reformation in 1998 following the fall of Suharto, Indonesians enjoy more freedom of expression and the ability to criticize. Civil society wonders if this freedom has not become too widespread.

Through his Facebook profile, Yani has expressed his disappointment at the arrest: "Now I need my friends and the support of all Muslims. I am under arrest and I cannot go home. " Again it was through the social network that Yani Ahok is accused of having "carried out a religious defamation" after editing a phrase uttered by the governor during a rally.

After the protest on November 4 mass (which was attended by at least 100 thousand people) and the inclusion of Ahok in the trial for blasphemy, radical Muslim groups promise new demonstrations against the governor. The Gerakan Nasional Pengawal Fatwa (Gnpf, national movement for the defense of the fatwa) is organizing a "mass prayer" in the central streets of Jakarta on 2 December. The police and the army said they will not tolerate any protest activities.

The Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah, the two largest moderate Muslim groups, issued a statement ìdistancing themselves from Gnpf and accusing the organizers of the event on December 2 of manipulating the symbols of moderate movements.

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