12/11/2018, 09.39
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Former Jakarta governor Ahok, will be free on January 24th

by Mathias Hariyadi

Early release for good behavior. On May 9, 2017, he was sentenced to two years in prison for defaming Islam at the end of a controversial trial. The politician is a champion of pluralism for much of the moderate society of Indonesia.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Former governor of Jakarta, Chinese ethnic Christian Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama will be released from jail next January 24: the politician will benefit from a three-month and 15-day penalty discount. Yesterday evening Sri Puguh Budi Utami, Director General for Prison Affairs, announced that the detainee will be granted early release by virtue of good conduct.

Sri Puguh said that the reduction takes into account this year's "Christmas Pardon". Previously, Ahok received a general amnesty. At the discretion of the Minister for Human Rights and Law, in Indonesia a prisoner with good behavior can benefit from a reduction in their sentence between 15 and 60 days, for every holiday that they are entitled to celebrate during the period of detention. In the case of Ahok, of Christian religion, it is Christmas.

On May 9, 2017, Ahok was found guilty and sentenced to two years in prison for defaming Islam at the end of a controversial trial. Since then he has been detained in the detention center at the headquarters of the National Police Mobile Brigade (Mako Brimob) in Kelapa Dua, Depok regency (West Java).

Last July, Ahok decided not to use conditional freedom. The early release could have put an end to Ahok's controversial judicial case, through which he has become a champion of pluralism for much of Indonesia's moderate society. On 26 March he unsuccessfully appealed against the sentence at the Supreme Court [Mahkamah Agung (Ma) in Indonesian].

A manipulated video of September 2016 portrayed Ahok as he warned the inhabitants of the Thousand Islands regency from people who use the verses of the Koran for political gain. The film sparked violent protests by radical Islamic movements and influenced the defeat of Ahok, a favorite candidate for the April 2017 elections for the governorate of the Indonesian capital.

At first, Ahok had refrained from proceeding with an appeal against the verdict. However, a few months later, the Bandung District Court, capital of the West Java province, condemned Buni Yani, his main accuser, to 18 months imprisonment for spreading discriminatory and defamatory remarks about the former Christian governor and having modified some parts of the offending video.

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