After his release this morning, former Jakarta Governor Basuki “BTP” Tjahaja Purnama has shied away from the public eye. While many have been waiting for some kind of public appearance from him, a few images and videos have emerged showing that BTP chose to spend time with his family and friends after his release, and, possibly, his fiancé.
The photos and videos, which have gone viral on social media after they were shared by BTP’s personal assistants, show him sitting next to the woman rumored to be his fiancé, a police officer named Puput Nastiti Devi (who was his ex-wife’s former bodyguard) at a gathering of what appears to be his family and close friends singing gospel songs together.
BTP’s mother Buniarti Ningsih, sister Fifi Lety Indra, godsister Nana Riwayatie, and eldest son Nicholas Sean can also be seen at the gathering.
It was reported that the gathering was a religious service in which BTP, his family and friends sang songs of praise for his release. It’s not clear exactly where the photos and videos were taken.
— detikcom (@detikcom) January 24, 2019
The long-awaited release of BTP from the Mako Brimob detention facility in Depok was done discreetly at around 7:30am today. BTP was reportedly picked up by Nicholas and his personal aides and headed straight to his residence, evading journalists and supporters who were waiting for him.
It’s not clear when BTP will speak to the public for the first time following the end of his incarceration, but the rumor among journalists is that he will do so from his North Jakarta home later in the afternoon.
Numerous hashtags welcoming BTP’s release have dominated the social media conversation in Indonesia today, such as #WelcomeBackBTP, #BTPpulang (BTPhascomehome) and #AhokBebas (AhokFreed).
Jakarta’s former governor was released from prison after nearly two years (he was given a 3.5-month sentence reduction due to good behavior and holiday remissions) after being convicted on blasphemy charges that fanned fears over religious intolerance in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation.
BTP — the Indonesian capital’s first non-Muslim governor in half a century and its first ethnic Chinese leader — had been a popular politician who won praise for trying to clean up the traffic-clogged megacity and clamp down on corruption.
But his downfall came quickly after comments he made on the campaign trail during a re-election bid saw him accused of insulting Islam.
His filmed remarks which went viral online sparked mass protests in Jakarta, spearheaded by radical groups opposed to a non-Muslim leader and encouraged by his political rivals.
He lost the election to a Muslim challenger, Anies Baswedan, and was then sentenced to two years’ jail in May 2017. He spent almost two years in prison, after being granted a 3.5-month sentence reduction due to good behavior and holiday remissions.