BREAKING: Jakarta Governor Ahok sentenced to 2 years in jail after being found guilty of blasphemy

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 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
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 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

The North Jakarta District Court handed Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama a 2-year prison sentence after it ruled that the Chinese Christian Jakarta governor was guilty of committing blasphemy against Islam.

The sentence is heavier than that demanded by the case prosecutors, who previously had asked for a 2-year suspended sentence (on a lesser charge) during which time Ahok could be jailed for a year if he were to commit another crime.

The maximum punishment for blasphemy under Indonesian law is 5 years imprisonment. 

Ahok and his legal representatives said they would file an appeal against the decision. He is reportedly being sent to Cipinang Prison for holding.

If his blasphemy conviction is upheld, Ahok would be banned from ever holding political office in Indonesia again.

One of the strangest considerations that the judges mentioned making in regards to Ahok’s sentence is that they did not consider the blasphemy allegations against Ahok to be related to the recent Jakarta gubernatorial election.

In September 2016, Ahok was reported to the police for blasphemy after a video of a speech he gave in Jakarta’s Pulau Seribu district was circulated online in which he told the audience that his political opponents used a contentious interpretation of a Quranic verse to convince people not to vote for non-Muslim public officials.

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