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Jakarta Post

Don’t meddle in Ahok’s blasphemy case, VP tells UN

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, May 24, 2017   /   02:46 pm
Don’t meddle in Ahok’s blasphemy case, VP tells UN Vice President Jusuf Kalla holds up his ballot while voting in the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta, on Feb. 15. (Antara/Wahyu Putro A)

Vice President Jusuf Kalla has asked the United Nations not to interfere with Indonesia’s judiciary system in relation to the recent conviction of non-active Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, who was sentenced to two years in prison for blasphemy.

The statement was a response to criticism from UN experts, who had urged Indonesia to overturn Ahok’s sentence on appeal or grant Ahok clemency to be released from prison.

“They cannot interfere with our home affairs, our law [...] Similarly, we can’t interfere with the legal affairs of Malaysia or the United States,” Kalla said on Tuesday as quoted by kompas.com.

He expressed concerns that the experts’ statement would only exacerbate already heightened tensions.

When asked about Ahok’s decision to withdraw his appeal against the verdict, Kalla said that it was Ahok’s right to do so, which must be respected.

Reuters reported on Monday that three UN experts had released a joint statement saying Ahok’s sentence would serve as a setback for the Indonesian government.

Ahok was declared guilty on May 9 by a panel of judges at the North Jakarta District Court, who sentenced him to two years in prison. His conviction and detention grabbed both national and international attention, with support growing for the Christian non-active governor of Chinese descent. (hol/rin)