Watchdog warns of 'frightening' future for Indonesia after Ahok case

Lucy Hill
May 10, 2017

An Associated Press journalist at the prison said some were pushing hard against a gate, trying to knock it down. She said that the outcome "is potentially unsafe for the development of justice and law in the country".

The minority Christian governor is now on trial on accusation of blasphemy following his remark about a passage in the Quran that could be interpreted as prohibiting Muslims from accepting non-Muslims as leaders.

"This is another victory for the hard-liner Islamist groups that have led the opposition to Ahok because of his Christian, and I would also add his ethnic Chinese, identity", he said.

The outgoing governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, also known as Ahok, has been jailed for two years.

The government said on Monday it would take legal steps to disband Hizb ut-Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), a group that seeks to establish an Islamic caliphate, because its activities were creating social tensions and threatening security.

The shock of Ahok's guilty verdict, passed down by the North Jakarta District Court on Tuesday morning, further contributed to the index's downward spiral.

Blasphemy is a criminal offense in Indonesia and punishable by up to five years in prison.

Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, center, enters the court room as he attends his sentencing hearing in Jakarta, Indonesia, Tuesday, May 9, 2017. Outside the court, his supporters wept at the news amid jubilant cheers from conservative Islamic groups. "The verdict will tarnish Indonesia's reputation as a tolerant nation".

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"Here we have witnessed that the judge has become a representative of God, that the judge has upheld justice", said Syamsu Hilal, a member of an anti-blasphemy group who reported Ahok to police previous year.

According to Reuters, Purnama is appealing the court's decision.

The Supreme Court in Indonesia has sentenced the minority Christian governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, to two years in prison after he was found guilty of blasphemy against Islam.

Photos quickly appeared online of Ahok, who still commands huge popularity in Jakarta being warmly greeted by prison staff. Ahok said he would appeal, but it was unclear if he would be released once that process is underway. It's unclear whether he would be released once the appeal is underway.

Mr Purnama was taken into custody immediately after the verdict was read out.

Wayan Sudirta, another lawyer for Ahok, said there was "so much pressure" for Ahok to be imprisoned.

"We respect the decision but we can't accept it".

"Here we have witnessed that the judge has become a representative of God", he said.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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