Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, who has asked to be referred to as BTP upon release, is a free man once again after serving nearly two years for blasphemy.
Ahok, who was released from the National Police’s Mobile Brigade (Mako Brimob) headquarters in Kelapa Dua, Depok, West Java, on Thursday, left the building in the morning and headed home, according to his team.
“Bapak BTP left Mako Brimob at around 7:30 a.m. He was picked up by his oldest son Nicholas Sean and members of the BTP team. He headed home immediately,” a BTP team representative, Ima Mahdiah, said on Thursday.
Basuki (Courtesy of BTP team/-)
Ahok and his team are believed to have left the compound through the back.
A crowd of supporters had gathered at the front gate in the morning to welcome the former Jakarta governor.
Ahok was sentenced for blasphemy following a speech he made in the Thousand Islands regency in September 2016 that referred to Al-Maidah verse 51 in the Quran. Ahok said the verse -- believed to ban Muslims from choosing a non-muslim leader -- had been used by politicians to manipulate people into voting against him.
The case played a major role in Ahok's defeat in the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election. (swd)