Test Case Indonesia: First Day of Ahok's Blasphemy Trial
Today (13/12) the first day of incumbent Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Cahaya Purnama's blasphemy trial took place at the Central Jakarta District Court. During this first session the prosecution team explained how Ahok allegedly violated Article 156a of the Criminal Code through the content of a speech in Jakarta's Thousand Islands district in late September. Meanwhile, defendant Ahok and his lawyer delivered a note of objection.
Prosecutor Ali Mukartono accuses Ahok of issuing a statement (involving Ahok's quoting of Quranic verse Al Maidah 51) that subsequently triggered conflict, misuse and blasphemy in Indonesian society. Moreover, Ahok's visit to Jakarta's Thousand Islands district (where the statement was made by Ahok in late September) should have no relation to Jakarta's gubernatorial election (scheduled for February 2017). However, in his statement he referred to the election. Lastly, he added that the interpretation, comprehension and implementation of Quranic verses are the domain of Muslims as this constitutes the holy domain. Ahok, a non-Muslim, is not in the position to interpret content of the Quran.
Jakarta Governor Ahok, who seeks reelection in February 2017, stated he had no intention to insult Islam or Muslims. Ahok's lawyer Sirra Prayuna added Ahok has made great efforts to improve the lives of the Muslims in Jakarta and therefore any blasphemy accusations make no sense. Lastly, Prayuna said this trial only occurs due to pressures from mass groups (Muslim hardliners).
Being Christian and of Chinese descent, it is a sensitive matter that Ahok quoted and interpreted a verse from the Quran in a political context. For those hardline Muslims (who do not agree that a non-Muslim can lead a Muslim-majority city) this case forms an opportunity to undermine Ahok's position.
For an in depth overview of this case read this column:
• Politics & Law in Indonesia: Ahok's Blasphemy Trial
Poll Indonesia Investments:
Do you think the court will find Ahok guilty of blasphemy?
Voting possible: -
- No, I don't think so (64.9%)
- Yes, I think so (22.8%)
- I don't know (12.3%)
Total amount of votes: 114