An Indonesian court has found Jakarta’s Christian governor guilty of blasphemy and sentenced him to two years in prison, in after a trial he faced in Indonesia the world’s largest Muslim-majority country.
Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, also known as Ahok, was “found to have legitimately and convincingly conducted a criminal act of blasphemy, and because of that we have imposed two years of imprisonment”, the head judge, Dwiarso Budi Santiarto, told the court.
“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.”
Another judge, Abdul Rosyad,explained that even after the accuse the suspected governor Ahok haven’t admitted that he did wrong saying, “the defendant didn’t feel guilt, the defendant’s act has caused anxiety and hurt Muslims”.
After the verdict, the five-judge panel ordered Ahok’s immediate arrest. Meanwhile the arrested leader Ahok said that he would go for a appeal against this decision of court.
The blasphemy charge over Ahok, were not as casual these were also referred by the Muslim’s holy book, and Islamic groups showed much anger over this act of disrespecting their holy book, these also claimed that the sentence of Ahok is much light as compared to his sin.
Meanwhile the suspected governor Ahok claimed that his opponents just for the future win in September had used the trick, and made Muslims against him.
As massive protests were managed by the Muslim majorities against him, these demanded the trial of Ahok, and the maximum sentence for him.
Some Protestors not happy with 2 year sentence for Ahok. Wanted 5 pic.twitter.com/cuYdlD3XGq
— Samantha Hawley (@samanthahawley) May 9, 2017
Some other protestors claimed that two years imprisonment is less, and he should be sentenced for at least 5 years in jail against this blasphemy.
Andreas Harsono, an Indonesia researcher at Human Rights Watch, said the verdict was “a sad day for Indonesia”.
“Ahok’s is the biggest blasphemy case in the history of Indonesia. He is the governor of Indonesia’s largest city, an ally of the president. If he can be sent to jail, what could happen to others?” he said.
Todung Mulya Lubis, a human rights lawyer said, “Rizieq Shihab cannot be considered as an expert because he openly, publicly accused Ahok of blasphemy, so he is not an independent, neutral expert anymore. But the judges mentioned his name in their judgment and I thought this is not correct.”
“The judges also talked about experts from [the Islamic organisation] Majelis Ulama Indonesia. With all respect, I don’t think they can be considered as experts because they had taken sides already, long before the trial.
Lubis said the verdict set a “bad precedent”, adding: “Religion is a private matter … so when you put it in the criminal code it can be used by people to discredit and suppress others. This is the problem with the blasphemy law. This is a very sad moment for us.”