- Title: Indonesia court to proceed with blasphemy trial of Jakarta's governor
- Date: 27th December 2016
- Summary: JAKARTA, INDONESIA (DECEMBER 27, 2016) (REUTERS) PROTESTERS AND POLICE STANDING IN FRONT OF NORTHERN JAKARTA DISTRICT COURT LEGAL TEAM OF JAKARTA GOVERNOR, BASUKI TJAHAJA PURNAMA, WALKING TO COURT HOUSE POLICE/PURNAMA'S LEGAL TEAM WAITING TO ENTER COURT POLICE VARIOUS OF CAR CARRYING PURNAMA ENTERING COURT COMPOUND POLICE/REPORTERS OUTSIDE THE GATE PURNAMA WALKING INTO COURT
- Embargoed: 11th January 2017 06:02
- Keywords: Indonesia court politics blasphemy Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama protest
- Location: JAKARTA, INDONESIA
- City: JAKARTA, INDONESIA
- Country: Indonesia
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice,Judicial Process/Court Cases/Court Decisions
- Reuters ID: LVA0015ENRUX1
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: An Indonesian court will proceed with a controversial blasphemy trial against Jakarta's Christian governor, who is accused of insulting the Koran, a judge said on Tuesday (December 27), a case seen as a test of religious freedom in the Muslim-majority nation.
A panel of judges rejected a call by lawyers defending Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama to strike down the case because it had violated the ethnic Chinese politician's human rights and breached procedures.
"The request for exception by the defendant was considered and decided by the court after an examination of all evidence. The defendant's exception is not accepted," said Judge Abdul Rosyad.
Hundreds of white-clad Muslim protesters chanted "Allahu Akbar" (God is great) outside the court in north Jakarta and called for the jailing of the governor, known by his nickname Ahok.
"Blasphemy is not acceptable in Indonesia, no religion should be insulted, moreover, Islam is a religion represented by the majority (in the country)," said one protester, Mafut Rudiah.
A smaller group of his supporters were also outside the courthouse.
"This case is important as it is related to the outcome of Jakarta's election. As a supporter of Ahok, no matter what we do is wrong, leave alone him (Purnama), who is said to be 'insulting Koran', that's what they (anti-Purnama people) said. As a fellow Muslim, I think we should forgive him if he apologized," said Kisab Tocakroyo.
The presiding judge on the panel, Dwiyarso Budi Santiarto, said the defence could appeal to a higher court if they did not agree with the decision to proceed with the case. Purnama, after consulting his lawyers, told the court he would consider doing so.
Blasphemy convictions in Indonesia can carry a jail term of up to five years and nearly always result in conviction.
As governor, Purnama has won credit for cutting red tape and improving the performance of Jakarta's bloated bureaucracy. However, his abrasive language and insistence on clearing city slums has alienated many voters.
President Joko Widodo, seen as a Purnama ally, has blamed "political actors" for fuelling the protests, but declined to elaborate.
The next court hearing is scheduled for January 3 and will be moved to an auditorium in the Agriculture Ministry in the south of the city for security reasons, authorities said.
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