The Jakarta Post
A group of Indonesian alumni of Harvard University and its fellowship programs has started an online petition, urging the judges of North Jakarta District Court to free Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama from all blasphemy charges.
The petition from the graduates of the United States university has attracted more than 60,000 votes as of Wednesday, a week before the court plans to hand down its verdict against Ahok on May 9.
At the April 20 hearing, the prosecutors demanded the judges sentence Ahok to two years’ probation if found guilty of violating Article 156 of the Criminal Code (KUHP) on showing animosity toward others. They admitted they could not prove Ahok had insulted Islam as a whole, but only individual Muslims.
The Harvard alumni are of the opinion that Ahok’s act did not qualify as a violation of any part of Article 156, namely hostility, hatred or contempt against an ethnicity, religion and race. The act in question is a speech he gave in Thousand Islands regency in September that quoted Surah Al Maidah 51, a Quranic verse often used by certain conservative Muslim groups to urge Muslims to vote only for political candidates who share the same faith.
“… supremacy of law should be upheld. The courtroom should be a place where truth and justice are upheld, not a place for justification and legitimation of mobocracy,” the petition stated.
The trial against Ahok started on Dec. 13 after a so-called anti-blasphemy movement drew more than a million Muslims to rallies to push the government to indict the governor based on an edited video of his September speech. (kuk)