Musician Ahmad Dhani going to court for hate speech trial this month, faces up to 6 years in jail

Screenshots from a now deleted music video made by Ahmad Dhani in support of presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto in 2014. After being heavily criticized for the Nazi uniform Dhani wore in the video, it was removed from Youtube.

Celebrity musician, failed politician and Nazi-apparel aficionado Ahmad Dhani was officially named a suspect for spreading hate speech online by the Jakarta Police in late November over a tweet in which he said that whoever defended former Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama should be spat upon.

After several months of investigation, prosecutors announced yesterday that Dhani’s case file had been completed and the former Indonesian Idol judge would face trial later this month. Formally charged with violating Indonesia’s infamous Law on Electronic Transactions and Information (UU ITE), Dhani could face up to six years in jail if convicted.

Despite being formally charged, police chose not to detain Dhani until his trial, which his legal adviser Hendarsam Marantoko said was due to his cooperation with the investigation and his promise to attend the trial, which is set to start in late March.

After undergoing examination as part of the case file submission process yesterday, Dhani told the media he was innocent and not worried about the potential six year jail sentence as he felt justice would be served and he’d be vindicated.

“If asked whether I feel guilty or not, until now I can say I’ve never felt guilty,” Dhani said as quoted by Kompas.

Given the charges, Dhani said he was asked by investigators if there were any groups he hated.

“In the examination I admitted that I hate those who defend religious blasphemers, I hate those who blaspheme religion, I also hate corruptors, rapists and drug dealers” he said.

Dhani was reported to the police in March 2017 by members of BTP Network, a group of volunteers working for Ahok and former Vice Governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat during their reelection campaign, for a tweet from Dhani’s official Twitter account in which he wrote, “Anyone who supports the religious blasphemer is a bastard who needs to be spit on in their faces”.

The musician, who is also a member of the Gerindra party and tried win the position of vice regent of Bekasi during the last election (he claimed he’d bring over the Red Hot Chili Peppers if he won, yet somehow he still lost), had been an outspoken critic of Ahok during his time in office and often took to Twitter to make crude, provocative statements about the former governor as well as President Joko Widodo (he was also reported for alleged hate speech against the president last year, though that case seems to have gone nowhere).

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