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Jakarta Post

Ahok saga to reach apex as he faces trial

  • Indra Budiari and Haeril Halim

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, November 29, 2016   /  07:09 am
Ahok saga to reach apex as he faces trial Seeking input: Jakarta gubernatorial candidate Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama (second left) and running mate Djarot Saiful Hidayat (second right) pose with singer Iwa K. (left) and actor Gading Marten during a campaign at Rumah Lembang in Jakarta on Monday. At the event, Ahok listened to input from Jakarta residents. (Antara/Angga Pratama)

The blasphemy case implicating incumbent Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama may soon take another dramatic turn as the National Police have suggested that Ahok’s case dossier will be handed over to the court soon.

National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian said on Monday that he had received information that the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) had considered the investigation complete and thus prosecutors would be ready to indict the beleaguered governor at the court as soon as next week.

“Thank God, the dossier is complete and God willing the case will be [ready to submit to the court] on Tuesday,” he told reporters.

If found guilty, Ahok faces up to five years’ imprisonment for his controversial statement in September, despite having repeatedly apologized for the remarks.

“I hope the trial starts as soon as possible so we all can supervise the trial through the media,” Tito said.

Tito made the announcement four days before another large-scale rally is set to be organized by a number of conservative Muslim groups that demand Ahok be taken into custody immediately.

Police investigators have banned Ahok from leaving the country but decided to not detain him.

Tito made the statement during a joint press conference with leading Islamic figures, including Rizieq Shihab, leader of the National Movement to Safeguard the Indonesia Ulema Council’s Fatwa (GNPF-MUI), which initiated the large-scale rally on Nov. 4 and planned another one on Dec. 2.

“We will have a peaceful rally next Friday, but we still expect the case to be declared complete as soon as possible. No blasphemy can be committed in this country, especially against Islam as the religion of the majority,” Rizieq said.

He added that the demonstrators of the upcoming rally would maintain their demands.

“This case has caused a national uproar so it is better for prosecutors to detain Ahok,” he said.

Police treatment of Ahok’s case has been deemed “unusual”.

Investigators, for example, completed the dossier only 10 days after they named Ahok a blasphemy suspect.

Police also held their first ever semi-open case screening for Ahok’s case.

Meanwhile, AGO spokesman Muhammad Rum said on Monday that prosecutors were finalizing Ahok’s indictment.

“I just talked to prosecutors [handling Ahok’s case] and they said they had almost reached a conclusion. We will see what will happen tomorrow [Tuesday],” Rum told The Jakarta Post.

He added that Ahok would likely be tried at the North Jakarta District Court because Ahok made the controversial statement in Thousand Islands regency, which is under the court’s jurisdiction.

The National Police submitted the case dossier to the AGO last Friday.

According to the Criminal Law Procedures Code (KUHAP), prosecutors have a maximum 14 days to examine the dossier and determine if it is ready to be taken to court, or, otherwise, the dossier would be returned to the police for further investigation.

Experts have suggested that the blasphemy allegation against Ahok is a test for the country’s democracy. More than 100,000 people hit the capital’s streets on Nov. 4 during one of the largest rallies to ever take place in the country, demanding Ahok be prosecuted for blasphemy.

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