Ahok will not be moved to Cipinang Prison due to ‘security concerns’: AGO

Indonesian protesters chant in front of a poster of Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known by his nickname Ahok, as they march down the capital city’s main street after a demonstration at Jakarta’s National Monument Park on December 2, 2016. More than 100,000 Indonesian Muslims protested on December 2, 2016 against Jakarta’s Christian governor, the second major demonstration in a matter of weeks as conservative groups push for his arrest on accusations of insulting Islam. GOH CHAI HIN / AFP

It’s been 44 days since former Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama was sentenced to two years in prison at the conclusion of his controversial blasphemy trial, a sentence that was roundly criticized as unjust both in Indonesia and abroad. During all of that time, he has been staying in the Brimob (Mobile Brigade) Detention Center, and it looks like he will be staying there for the foreseeable future.

Ahok was originally sentenced to East Jakarta’s Cipinang prison. He was briefly brought there immediately following the conclusion of his trial but was quickly moved to the Brimob Detention Center in Depok due to ‘security concerns’. It was supposed to be a temporary situation, with him eventually being moved back to Cipinang, but Noor Rachmad, the deputy attorney general for crimes, said that Ahok will be staying at the detention center for the remainder of his sentence.

“His status at Brimob Detention has become criminal, meaning he is officially under Cipinang but held in Brimob Detention,” Noor said on Wednesday as quoted by Kompas.

Ahok was actually supposed to be moved to Cipinang prison yesterday, but Noor said the AGO got a request from Cipinang officials to keep Ahok at the detention center, again, due to security concerns.

Noor told the media that the issue had been weighed and there was a concern that Ahok’s presence in Cipinang would be disruptive to the prison.

When Ahok was first moved to the Brimob facility after his trial, Cipinang Warden Asep Sutandar said it would not be “conducive” to the situation at the prison, as there were only 20 officers to oversee the prison’s 3,730 prisoners and their visitors.

In addition to being vastly understaffed, Asep said Cipinang is also far over capacity — by about 1,100 prisoners — and that security was overwhelmed by pro-Ahok protesters outside the jail on the one night he stayed there.

On top of all that, there have also been numerous stories of corruption at Cipinang. Just last week, the National Narcotic Agency (BNN) said they had uncovered a “luxury cell” at Cipinang, complete with AC, wifi and even an aquarium.

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