Jakarta governor, ahok, sent to jail for blasphemy

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  • Jakarta governor, ahok, sent to jail for blasphemy

    In a verdict that surprised many, an Indonesian court has sentenced Jakarta’s outgoing governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known as ‘Ahok’, to two years in prison for blasphemy. The sentence is higher than the prosecutors had asked for.

    The news was welcomed by Islamic hardliners who had gathered outside of the court, cheering and shouting “God is greatest!” Supporters of the governor were stunned, with some breaking down in tears.

    Andi, a devoted Muslim, said she felt heartbroken. “He was such a good man and great leader… He didn’t care what religion people were. Now, he has been framed,” she said. Thousands of police were out on the streets to prevent clashes between Ahok’s supporters and opponents. The court case was seen as politically motivated, the ruling illustrative of the growing religious intolerance in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation.

    Ahok, a Chinese Christian, was charged with blasphemy after accusing his political opponents of using Quranic verses to stop Muslims from voting for him in the bid for re-election as Jakarta’s governor. A day after he lost the election to his Muslim contender, Anies Rasiyd Baswedan, prosecutors downgraded the blasphemy charges against him and recommend that, if he was found guilty, Ahok would serve no prison time. They suggested two years of probation with a possible one-year jail term if he committed a crime during that period.

    They recommended this lighter sentence because of his “significant” contributions to the Indonesian capital. Before the Christian governor was charged with insulting Islam in one of his speeches, he enjoyed a large opinion-poll lead due to his determination to clean up traffic-clogged, polluted Jakarta.

    The judge, however, used the Penal Code 156a for blasphemy instead of the Penal Code 156 for “expressing hostile feelings or hatred towards a particular group” that was used by the prosecutor.

    The head judge, Dwiarso Budi Santiarto, told the court: “Mr. Purnama was found to have legitimately and convincingly conducted a criminal act of blasphemy, and because of that we have imposed two years of imprisonment. As part of a religious society, the defendant should be careful to not use words with negative connotations regarding the symbols of religions, including the religion of the defendant himself.”

    One of his colleagues, Abdul Rosyad, added that the reasons for the stiff sentence included that “the defendant didn’t feel guilt, [and] the defendant’s act had caused anxiety and hurt Muslims.”

    The governor was taken into custody immediately after the verdict was read out. His deputy, Djarot Saiful Hidayat, will govern Jakarta until the term ends in October. Ahok’s lawyer said they will file an appeal against the verdict.

    Islamic groups said they will call for a harsher sentence as they find the two-year imprisonment too light. Under Indonesian law, blasphemy is punishable by up to five years in prison.

    Will this set a precedent and bring forth more frequent blasphemy allegations? Will this create a harsher climate for Christians living in Indonesia? Only time will tell, but please take a moment to share this and join with others in prayer for this uncertain time and shocking situation.
    400 Bad Request

    Persecution of Christians has been much less in Indonesia than in many other countries. It is ranked 46 on the World Watch List of Open Doors. This may be a sign that persecution will be getting worse in that country.
    Clyde Herrin's Blog

  • #2
    No new news here. Where are all those moderate Muslims, protectors of Christians and their rights now?

    God bless,

    • #3
      Originally posted by William View Post
      No new news here. Where are all those moderate Muslims, protectors of Christians and their rights now?

      God bless,
      Charging the man behind the charges with blasphemy against Christianity, as I posted here. It will be some time until his trial, and until then we will not hear whether he has received the same sentence as the governor he brought the charges against. If he receives the same sentence, as he has commited the same offense just against a different faith, then that is the rule of law. If he is let off with a slap on the wrist, then it would be obvious persecution of Christians.

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