Judge in mosque loudspeaker blasphemy trial arrested by KPK on corruption charges

Photo illustration. Source: Wikimedia Commons
Photo illustration. Source: Wikimedia Commons

A panel of judges in the district court of Medan found Meiliana, a 44-year-old Chinese-Indonesian woman guilty of blasphemy and sentenced her to 1.5 years in jail for allegedly complaining about the volume of the loudspeaker in her neighborhood mosque. The decision has been heavily criticized by many parties as a travesty of justice, but stands pending appeal. One week later, the head judge in that trial is now facing his own serious legal problems after being arrested by Indonesia’s anti-corruption agency.

Officers from the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) today arrested Medan District Court Deputy Chairman Wahyu Prasetyo Wibowo, along with seven other people, based on the results of an undercover operation.

“Of the eight people (arrested), there were those who served as judges, clerks and other parties. They are suspected of being involved in transactions relating to the handling of corruption cases in Medan,” KPK Deputy Chairman Basaria Pandjaitan told Detik today.

Wahyu acted as the presiding judge in Meiliana’s trial and read out her verdict in court on August 21. There is no evidence yet to suggest that he was arrested for anything related to her case.

Instead, the arrests are related to allegations that suspects charged by the KPK had been bribing officials in the Medan Corruption Court. KPK officials that they had confiscated a large amount of Singaporean dollars as evidence in the case. Officials have yet to reveal any more details, saying that a final determination of the suspect’s legal status would be made following a day of interrogations.

Meiliana’s verdict and sentence has been heavily criticized by many, including senior religious and political figures who argued that complaining about the volume of a mosque loudspeaker should not be considered blasphemy. Over 150,000 people have signed a Change.org petition asking President Joko Widodo to intervene in her case.

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