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Jakarta Post

The verdict and what it means for tolerance

  • Alif Satria
    Alif Satria

    Assistant researcher at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

Jakarta   /   Fri, May 19, 2017   /  01:39 pm
The verdict and what it means for tolerance Supporters of Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama cry after the North Jakarta District Court sentenced him to two years in prison for blasphemy in his final hearing on May 9. (JP/Seto Wardhana.)

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...

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.