Jakarta governor blasphemy probe to proceed to court

After weeks of investigation, team decides case should be brought to court so probe can be openly monitored by public

Jakarta governor blasphemy probe to proceed to court

World Bulletin / News Desk

After a day of deliberation, Indonesian police have named the governor of Jakarta a suspect in a blasphemy case and said he is not allowed to leave the country.

Commissioner Gen. Ari Dono Sukmanto told a press conference in Jakarta on Wednesday that following Tuesday's "case expose", a majority of the investigation team had decided the case should be brought to a court so the probe could be openly monitored by the public.

"[The team] named Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, a.k.a Ahok, a suspect, and he is prevented from leaving Indonesian territory," Sukmanto was reported as saying by kompas.com.

National Police Chief Tito Karnavian said later Wednesday that Ahok had not been detained as the team's verdict was not unanimous.

"There is a big difference among the experts about the presence of the intention [for insulting Islam]. This caused different opinion among the 27 members of the investigating team," Sukmanto said. 

The move follows weeks of investigations after police received complaints that Ahok had publicly insulted the Quran during a visit to Thousand Islands regency in Jakarta late September.

An initial march -- which saw thousands gather at Jakarta's Istiqlal Mosque and march through the city pushing for criminal proceedings -- was followed by a peaceful protest by around 100,000 Muslims on Nov. 4, which descended into violence.

The governor -- a Christian of Chinese descent in the predominantly Muslim country -- is accused of publicly insulting Islam in a speech, 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.

Since the late September incident in question, police have questioned Ahok at least twice and asked for testimony from around 40 people, some of them from the Indonesian Ulema Council, along with experts on the Quran, criminal law and linguistics.

Police have also seized video showing the speech, compiled documents relating to the investigation, along with testimony from witnesses and experts.

Police Chief Karnavian said that the investigation will be brought to trial quickly to make for a clear and opaque investigation.

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. 

Ahok, meanwhile, said he remains unperturbed as he met supporters at his campaign headquarters in Menteng, Central Jakarta on Wednesday.

"I’m [being named] a suspect, just let it be," the Jakarta Post reported him as saying.

Last Mod: 16 Kasım 2016, 10:13
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