Assistant researcher at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
It is undeniable that the court verdict on Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama on May 9 is a stark setback for legal fairness in Indonesia. It marks a procedural setback given the mob pressure on the court.
The verdict did not follow the formal legal procedure of the Blasphemy Law, or Article 156a of the Criminal Code (KUHP), which stipulates that individuals must be given a warning letter from the Religious Affairs Ministry, the Attorney General’s Office and the Home Ministry before they are to be prosecuted, and no such letter was issued.
The verdict moreover also marks a substantive setback — not only in the way the judge interpreted the Blasphemy Law, but also by the fact that the judge applied it to begin with; knowing that it’s a law with vague wording that can easily be interpreted to suit any interest, and did so under a...
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