Basuki Tjahaja Purnama | Indonesia
On May 9, former Christian governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, also known affectionately by his Chinese nickname as “Ahok”, was imprisoned for blasphemy in a politically-motivated campaign, and sentenced to two years in prison.
During his September 2016 election campaign, Ahok quoted a Qur’anic verse to address concerns that his political opponents may use to discourage people from voting for him as a non-Muslim. Shortly after this, he was falsely accused of blasphemy by conservative Islamic groups after an edited version of his statement went viral. Although he denied the blasphemy allegation and apologized for the comments, tens of thousands of protesters, led by the Islamic Defenders Front, a group accused of inciting violence, took to the streets in mass rallies. Ahok was running for re-election against two Muslim candidates, and his supporters claim that the blasphemy accusations were politically motivated.
Prosecutors had recommended two years’ probation on a lesser charge, which would have spared him prison time, however, the judge rejected their recommendation. Ahok has been permitted to have his Bible during his imprisonment.
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Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia
Indonesia Embassy Wellington
70 Glen Road,