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Ahok prepares defense against prosecutors’ sentence demand

  • Callistasia Anggun Wijaya
    Callistasia Anggun Wijaya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Fri, April 21, 2017 | 09:24 pm
Ahok prepares defense against prosecutors’ sentence demand Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama (center) during a hearing of his trial at the North Jakarta District Court on April 20. (Antara/POOL/Muhammad Adimaja via JP)

Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama is preparing his defense statement for a hearing on April 25, when the court is set to listen to the governor’s response to the prosecutors’ sentence demand of two years’ probation for insulting Muslims.     

I Wayan Sudirta, his lawyer, said on Friday, that the governor would read his defense before the five-judge panel led by Dwiarso Budi Santiarto.

“He will tell the court about what he has experienced and how he feels,” Wayan said in Menteng, Central Jakarta.

Wayan added that Ahok’s legal team was preparing to refute the accusation that Ahok had insulted a group of people who had faith in the interpretation of Surah Al Maidah 51, a Quranic verse that has been interpreted as forbidding Muslims from voting for Christian or Jewish leaders.

Wayan said that in the defense, the legal team would stress the prosecutors’ failure to give a concrete explanation about those who had been insulted by Ahok. 

Therefore, they could not prove that Ahok had violated Article 156 of the Criminal Code (KUHP) on inciting animosity or hatred toward, or offending, a particular group, which the governor has been charged with, he said. Initially, Ahok was legally processed on the accusations that his speech violated either Article 156 or Article 156a of the KUHP. The prosecutors decided to withdraw their accusation that Ahok violated Article 156a.

In the defense, the lawyers will also insist that prosecutors have mostly presented de auditu witnesses, who have only heard Ahok’s speech in Thousand Islands on Sept. 27 last year from a viral video that was an excerpt of the speech, and experts who were not neutral in the case. 

The lawyers will then try to convince the judges that Ahok should not be responsible for the uproar caused by the scandal.

Prosecutors said in a hearing on Thursday that a person named Buni Yani, now a suspect in a hate-speech case, had contributed to the uproar by writing a false transcript for his video of Ahok’s speech during his working visit to Thousand Islands.

Therefore, there was no reason that prosecutors should continue pressing their case against Ahok, Wayan said.

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