Judicial ethics board calls for transparency after 3 judges from Ahok’s trial receive promotions

Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama is seen inside a court during his trial for blasphemy in Jakarta, Indonesia May 9, 2017 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/ Sigid Kurniawan/via REUTERS
Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama is seen inside a court during his trial for blasphemy in Jakarta, Indonesia May 9, 2017 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/ Sigid Kurniawan/via REUTERS

Three of the North Jakarta District Court judges who presided over Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama’s blasphemy trial have been promoted following Ahok’s controversial guilty verdict and two-year imprisonment, prompting numerous allegations of corruption from the public and criticism from the Indonesia’s judicial ethics board, the Judicial Commission.

The promotions for Dwiarso Budi Santriarto (promoted to the Bali High Court), Abdul Rosyad (promoted to the Central Sulawesi High Court) Jupriyadi (promoted to head judge of the Bandung District Court) were made official on Wednesday, just one conspicuous day after Ahok was given his sentence.

The decision sparked outrage among the public, particularly because of their questionable considerations throughout the trial, such as ignoring the prosecution’s demand for a lesser sentence of two-years probation and classifying Islamic Defenders Front leader Rizieq Shihab, who was at the forefront of the anti-Ahok movement and mass protests, as a “Koranic expert” and using his testimony to justify sending Ahok to prison.

“The Supreme Court must be transparent or make the track records of the three recently promoted judges available to the public to avoid any suspicions,” said Jusicial Commission Spokesman Farid Wajdi, as quoted by BeritaSatu today.

“What should be looked at is if it’s true that they have fulfilled the formal requirements for promotion.”

Supreme Court spokesman Ridwan Mansyur denied that the judges’ promotions had anything to do with Ahok’s case. According to him, they were only three out of of 388 district court judges who were recently promoted or reassigned, and that their promotions had been in consideration for several months.

If there’s a silver lining for Ahok, it’s that he won’t face any of those judges again when his appeal is heard by the Jakarta High Court. But then again, many believe the Indonesian judicial system to be rife with systemic corruption, as evidenced by the graft cases involving two Constitutional Court judges, one of whom has already been convicted (Akil Mochtar) and the other still under investigation (Patrialis Akbar).

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