The Jakarta Post
Supporters of Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama pledged on Monday to hold demonstrations at the court complex on all remaining days of Ahok’s blasphemy trial to push for a fair verdict.
Bara-Badja (Volunteer Front for Basuki and Djarot) member Soelianto Rusli, who is the head coordinator of the demonstrations, said the decision had been made following a meeting ahead of the third hearing, which is slated for Tuesday and seeks to demand that judges release the beleaguered incumbent gubernatorial candidate.
Soelianto claims that the trial has become politicized and subject to public pressure, and therefore a response from Ahok supporters is needed to balance out the sentiment from those calling for him to be found guilty.
"We want to be present at the trial so that the judges are fairer in handling the case. We see that Ahok has been criminalized, so we want this trial to be fairer," Soelianto told The Jakarta Post over the phone following a coordination meeting held to finalize details of the rally.
He said approximately 800 people would flock to the hearing on Tuesday, which is set to be held at a new venue in South Jakarta. The group is set to begin rallying at 6 a.m. and plans to remain there until the hearing ends.
The Supreme Court (MA) has moved the hearing to the Agriculture Ministry’s main hall in South Jakarta from the North Jakarta District Court, which is now temporarily located at the former Central Jakarta District Court building on Jl. Gajah Mada No 17, Central Jakarta.
The new venue has a higher capacity and can accommodate approximately 100-200 visitors, in comparison to the previous courtroom, which can only hold 80 visitors.
Ahok, a Christian of Chinese descent, has been charged with violating Articles 156 and 156 (a) of the Criminal Code (KUHP) on blasphemy after he cited Surah Al Maidah 51 during a public speech in Thousand Islands during a visit on Sept. 27. The governor could face a maximum sentence of five year's imprisonment. (dan)
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