Buni Yani, the university lecturer who played a crucial part in Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama’s imprisonment for blasphemy and his defeat in the Jakarta election, is also heading to jail after being found guilty for violating the Information and Electronic Transactions Act (UU ITE) today.
Judges at the Bandung District Court this afternoon sentenced Buni Yani to 1.5 years imprisonment for posting an infamously misleading video clip which, as blatantly counterintuitive as it may seem, kick-started Ahok’s blasphemy trial and eventual imprisonment.
“Things that made the convicted’s punishment heavier included his role in creating religious unrest, not regretting his actions, and the fact that the convicted is a politics lecturer so he should’ve behaved accordingly in the work environment. The convict did not admit he was guilty,” said head judge M Saptono, as quoted by Detik today.
Buni Yani was specifically found guilty of violating Article 28 (2) of UU ITE for inciting hatred among groups of peoples, as well as Article 38 (1) for unlawfully editing a video owned by another party, in this case the Jakarta Provincial Government. The sentence rendered was lighter than the 2 years imprisonment demanded by government prosecutors.
Buni Yani and his legal advisors say they are going to appeal the Bandung District Court’s sentence.
The Jakarta Metro Police charged Buni Yani for inciting religious hatred in November 2016, a week after Ahok was named a suspect for blasphemy. According to the police, Buni Yani’s fault was that his transcript of Ahok’s speech was missing some key words so that it seemed that Ahok said the Quran itself deceives people, whereas in actuality Ahok said that people use the Quran to deceive others in the full version of his speech.