Jakarta governor blasphemy probe over, result pending

Police to decide later this week if charges will be pressed against Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama for blasphemy

Jakarta governor blasphemy probe over, result pending

World Bulletin / News Desk

Indonesian police invited dozens of witnesses and experts to participate in a "case expose" Tuesday to discuss an investigation into blasphemy allegations against Jakarta’s governor.

Since Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama was accused of insulting the Quran in a September speech, mass demonstrations have been called, with the country’s president and leading Muslim organizations calling for calm.

After listening to input from those supportive and critical of Ahok, police are due to decide later this week whether to press charges against him.

National police spokesman Brig. Agus Rianto said Tuesday’s "expose" was eventually held behind closed doors, despite earlier plans to broadcast it live on national television.

He did not elaborate on the reason for the cancelation, but assured that the mechanism put in place was concluded after careful consideration.

"We will present on a brief investigation process [conducted] over the last month and show the video [of Ahok’s September speech]," detik.com quoted Rianto as saying.

The governor -- a Christian of ethnic Chinese background -- is accused of publicly insulting Islam, however he says he was calling for people not to be “deceived” by those using a Quranic verse, Al Maidah: Chapter 51, not that the verse itself was insulting.

Rianto said Tuesday police will allow for at least 20 testimonies during the meeting, which was monitored by police investigators, media representatives, Ahok's lawyers, experts for and against Ahok and external parties such as the National Police Commission and the ombudsman.

"There was a brief discussion and additional statements from the parties involved," he added.

Rianto underlined that police would decide how to proceed based on the evidence, reinforced by expert statements.

If Ahok -- who did not attend the meeting, instead preferring to meet his supporters at his house -- is suspected of having committed blasphemy, police will name him a suspect later this week.

Otherwise the case will be dropped.

"From the meeting, we will determine the conclusion of this case," Rianto said.

Since the late September incident in question, police have questioned Ahok at least twice and asked for testimony from around 25 people, some of them from the Indonesian Ulema Council, along with experts on the Quran, criminal law and linguistics.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has attempted to calm tensions by visiting the country’s two largest Muslim organizations, and promised that the legal process will be fair, applied strictly and transparently.

He has also vowed to make no attempt to intervene to protect Ahok -- Widodo’s deputy when he was Jakarta governor.  

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Last Mod: 15 Kasım 2016, 15:48
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