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Supreme Court rejects Ahok ‘blasphemy’ sentence appeal

South East Asia

Supreme Court rejects Ahok ‘blasphemy’ sentence appeal

Former governor of Jakarta

The Indonesian Supreme Court on Monday (26 March) rejected Ahok’s appeal against his two-year sentence for “blasphemy”.

The Christian former governor of Jakarta had sought a case review of his conviction on the grounds that the judges who handed down his two-year jail term had “made a mistake.”

When sentencing Ahok in May 2017, the lead judge told the court he had “convincingly conducted a criminal act of blasphemy”. However, his original accuser – who doctored and publicised a video of Ahok disputing Islamist claims that the Quran forbids Muslims being governed by non-Muslims – has subsequently been jailed for hate speech for his actions.

Prior to the allegations of “blasphemy” Ahok had been favourite to secure a second term as governor. But in April 2017 he lost in a final run-off to Anies Baswedan, a Muslim candidate. Ahok was jailed a month later. Ahead of the final vote, Islamists engineered mass protests and called for Indonesians to only vote for Muslim politicians to “defend Islam.”