The Jakarta Post
Three days after the Supreme Court rejected former Jakarta governor Basuk “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama’s petition for a case review into his blasphemy conviction, a report has emerged in a regional newspaper that the justice who presided over the petition's hearing, Artidjo Alkostar, was closely connected to the radical Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and its founder, Rizieq Shihab.
Rizieq was a key figure behind the public protests against Ahok during the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election, which ended with the former governor, who is a Christian of ethnic Chinese ancestry, being convicted for blasphemy case last May.
Ahok filed his request for a case review on Feb. 2, about nine months after his conviction and sentencing.
Quoting Rizieq, tribunnews.com reported that Artidjo was the head of FPI’s legal division in 2014, just before Artidjo was appointed as a Supreme Court justice.
Ahok’s lawyer Josefina Agatha Syukur said on Wednesday that she was aware of the report. “We’re taking [the media report] into account,” she said.
“We’ll wait until the court hands over the official document [rejecting Ahok’s petition] to us before taking further legal steps,” Josefina added.
Presiding justice Artidjo, along with Supreme Court justices Salman Luthan and Margiatmo, rejected Ahok’s legal challenge to his conviction by the North Jakarta District Court, which sentenced him to two years in prison.
Jakarta FPI secretary-general Novel Bamukmin, however, claimed that the report was wrong about the relationship between Artidjo and Rizieq.
“It’s not true. They [Artidjo and Rizieq] probably met once or twice,” Novel told tempo.co on Wednesday.
Artidjo has yet to respond to the controversy over the news report.
The Supreme Court justice has presided over several infamous graft cases in which he convicted a number of state officials and politicians. (vla)