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.
Tears for Ahok….heartbeaking scenes after the governor was jailed pic.twitter.com/9yyhVoH5OK
— Step Vaessen (@stepvaessen) May 9, 2017
The maximum punishment for blasphemy under Indonesian law is 5 years imprisonment.
Some Protestors not happy with 2 year sentence for Ahok. Wanted 5 pic.twitter.com/cuYdlD3XGq
— Samantha Hawley (@samanthahawley) May 9, 2017
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.