Ahok’s ‘spirits remain high’ inside prison, using time to study Mandarin and kung-fu says legal team

Ahok in the style of Indonesian hero Si Pitung crossed with a kung-fu warrior. Illustration by @demokreatif

We haven’t heard much from former Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama since he made the surprising decision to withdraw his appeal of the shocking 2-year sentence he was given at the conclusion of his blasphemy trial. But for those worried about how he’s doing in prison, according to his legal team, Ahok is doing pretty much a-ok.

The team regularly visits Ahok at the Mako Brimob prison facility in Depok in which the former governor is currently being held. One member of the team, Teguh Samudera, said Ahok’s routine hasn’t changed much since he was first imprisoned on May 9. According to him, Ahok spends a good part of each day reading the Bible and writing down his personal thoughts and reflections.

Teguh said he hadn’t noticed much of physical change in Ahok over the three weeks he’s been in prison, except for noting that the former governor had actually gained a few kilograms.

“His weight has increased, he’s bulkier. He also practices kung fu body balancing, learns Mandarin, and regularly receives fan letters from his supporters,” Teguh said as quoted by Kompas.

Teguh said Ahok has received around 300 letters of support from his fans, delivered through his legal team, mostly containing letters of hope and prayer for the man many believe to have been unjustly imprisoned. Many have sent books as well.

“From his tone of voice, he has not changed, which is to say he still always thinks in a positive way. His spirit remains high,” Teguh said.

His supporters will certainly be happy to hear that, though Ahok still has a long way to go before his sentence is fulfilled, although there is a chance it could be reduced by several months for good behavior. And while the former governor withdrew his sentence appeal, his lawyers are still attempting to have his prison sentence commuted to house arrest.

There is also another sentence appeal, filed by the prosecution (given the fact that they had asked the judges to hand Ahok a sentence of two years probation on a lesser charge) which is still under consideration as the attorney general has not yet decided whether to withdraw it as well.

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