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Jakarta Post

I swim against the tide to tell the truth, Ahok tells judges

  • Callistasia Anggun Wijaya
    Callistasia Anggun Wijaya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, April 25, 2017   /   02:14 pm
I swim against the tide to tell the truth, Ahok tells judges Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama sits before a panel of judges during a defense hearing at the Agriculture Ministry's auditorium in South Jakarta on Tuesday, April 25. During the hearing, Ahok reads his defense plea. (kompas images/POOL/Kristianto Purnomo via JP)

Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama referred to himself as a defamation victim as he tried to convince a panel of five judges he was innocent of committing blasphemy against Islam during his defense plea on Tuesday.

During the hearing, the governor said he had become the victim after Buni Yani, now a hate-speech suspect, uploaded a video of him mentioning the Quranic verse Surah Al Maidah 51 in a speech made during a working visit to the Thousand Islands in September 2016.

It was not until Buni uploaded the video that the backlash against him started, Ahok said, pointing out that prosecutors had already admitted Buni’s role in the case.

To back his argument, he cited senior poet and journalist Goenawan Mohammad’s writing, which called Ahok a victim of defamation.

He then told judges that as a governor, he only worked to improve people’s welfare. 

(Read also: Orchestrated blasphemy case costing nation: Ahok)

Ahok spoke about his experience while watching the animated children’s movie Finding Nemo with kindergarten students at the City Hall. During the event, he recalled telling the children that he often stood up against other to defend the truth and do good for Jakarta residents.

 “I’m just a little Nemo in Jakarta who will keep helping the poor and needy, although I’m defamed and raged due to my faith and belief. I will keep serving [the residents] with love,” Ahok said.