Police to speed up Jakarta governor blasphemy probe

2 protests planned over coming weeks after Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama named suspect

Police to speed up Jakarta governor blasphemy probe

World Bulletin / News Desk

Indonesian police announced Tuesday they are accelerating a probe into alleged blasphemy by the governor of Jakarta, as groups demanding justice threatened action. 

Two protests are planned over coming weeks, after Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama was finally named a "suspect" last week following complaints that he had publicly insulted the Quran during a visit to Thousand Islands regency in Jakarta late September.

The declaration followed a peaceful protest by around 100,000 Muslims on Nov. 4, which degenerated into violence.

On Tuesday, website detik.com quoted police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto as saying that the order had been given to immediately bring the case to trial so everyone can see and judge it clearly.

"Hopefully, the case document will be completed [soon] and can be transferred to the prosecutor within one to two weeks," Rikwanto said.

On Tuesday morning, Ahok arrived at national police headquarters accompanied by 15 lawyers to be questioned for the first time since the charges were laid.

According to Rikwanto, police have questioned 24 witnesses -- among them clergy, criminal experts and linguists -- since last week.

Protests are planned for the next two Fridays, as some groups call for Ahok -- who plans to run in the February gubernatorial election -- to be detained for the alleged insult while the investigation continues.

Although police named Ahok a suspect following a “case expose” Wednesday, he was barred from leaving the country but not detained as the investigative team's verdict was not unanimous.

The Jakarta governor, however, 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.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has attempted to calm tensions by visiting the country’s two largest Muslim organizations as well as political allies and rivals, 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.

"I want to emphasize that the reinforcement of the spirit of plurality, pluralism, mutual respect, love for each other is urgently needed now and in the future," detik.com quoted him as saying at the presidential palace Tuesday after his latest meeting.

Last Mod: 22 Kasım 2016, 13:53
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