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Jakarta Former Governor Ahok Found Guilty Of Blasphemy

11 May 2017

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, also known as Ahok, was accused of insulting Islam by referring to a verse in the Koran in a campaign speech past year.

The governor said immediately after his sentence was handed down that he will appeal the guilty verdict.

Purnama was hauled into court a year ago to face trial for allegedly insulting Islam while campaigning for re-election in a case critics said was politically motivated.

Hard-line Islamic groups who called for the maximum penalty of five years said it was too lenient, but Mr Purnama's supporters said it was too harsh and that he should be acquitted.

The post Indonesian court sentences ex governor to 2 years in prison for blasphemy appeared first on Vanguard News.

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Human Rights Watch researcher Andreas Harsono blasted the sentence as "another setback for Indonesia." .

But there is a chance Purnama could escape jail after prosecutors last month recommended he be punished with only two years probation, with a possible one-year jail term if he commits a crime during that period. Hardline Islamic groups opposed to having a non-Muslim leader for the city capitalized on the trial to draw hundreds of thousands to anti-Ahok protests in Jakarta that shook the centrist government of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

Analysts say the radical Islamist groups that organised mass protests against Purnama had a decisive impact on the outcome of the election.

Almost 13,000 policemen were deployed in the Indonesian capital to prevent clashes between supporters and opponents of Ahok, who lost the Governor's re-election on April 19.

He will hand over to Baswedan in October.

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Ahok continually denied the charges, and said his comments were aimed at politicians "incorrectly" using the Koranic verse against him, as reported by The Gospel Herald, and insisted his alleged remarks were not directed at the verse itself.

The trial was "widely seen as a test of religious tolerance in the world's largest Muslim-majority nation", Reuters reports, amid signs that Indonesia is tilting towards political Islam.

The tensions whipped up during the Jakarta election have raised concerns about the rising influence of extreme groups in Indonesia, which is home to sizeable communities of Buddhists, Hindus, Christians and people who adhere to traditional beliefs.

"The blasphemy law has really been a blight on the rule of law and democracy in Indonesia for decades", he said, adding that "the fact that Ahok was charged at all was really a product of massive street demonstrations that frightened the government into acting".

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Jakarta Former Governor Ahok Found Guilty Of Blasphemy