JAKARTA — November 16, 2016: Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, better known as Ahok, will be charged for blasphemy.
This follows a statement he made by citing a Quranic verse during a meeting with voters in Kepulauan Seribu here about two months ago.
National police chief Tito Karnavian told reporters here today that a special investigation team comprising 27 people, including religious scholars, linguists and psychologists found that Ahok had insulted Islam.
“The conclusion made by the team is not unanimous. However, the criminal investigation department has agreed to name Ahok as the accused today,” Tito was quoted by online media.
He revealed that there were differences in opinion between the linguists and the religious scholars but the majority of the team members believed Ahok should be prosecuted, based on the fact he touched on the interpretation of the Quran.
While in Kepulauan Seribu Ahok had allegedly asked Muslims not to be fooled by those who used the verse from Surah Al Maidah which states that Muslims are prohibited from selecting a non-Muslim as their leader.
Ahok’s statement sparked anger among Muslims. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims organised a demonstration to protest against him in this capital city on November 4.
Tito said Ahok will be charged under the Information and Electronic Transactions Law, with the case held in open court.
If found guilty, Ahok faces a maximum jail term of six years and a fine of Rp1 billion (RM300,000).
The head of the Election Commission for Jakarta province, Sumarno, said Ahok’s status as an accused does not affect his right to contest in the election in February for governor. He is also free to campaign.
Ahok was quoted as saying he would face the allegations and believed he was not guilty of slander. — Bernama