INDONESIA: Christian Governor Imprisoned for Blasphemy

Source: WEA Religious Liberty Commission newsletter, May 15, 2017

On May 9, 2017, the governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, popularly known as Ahok, was convicted on charges of blasphemy against Islam and sentenced to two years in jail by the North Jakarta District Court.

Purnama, Indonesia’s foremost Christian politician, was appointed as governor of Jakarta in 2014. However, in the wake of blasphemy allegations, Purnama lost his bid for re-election last month.

According to reports, prosecutors had recommended a suspended one-year jail sentence on charges of hate speech. The judges, nevertheless, ignored the prosecutors’ demand. Following the verdict, Purnama’s lawyers stated that they would appeal the court’s ruling. The governor, though, is expected to remain imprisoned during the appeal process.

  • Pray that the District Court’s decision will be overturned by a higher court.
  • Pray for the quick release of Purnama.
  • Pray for God’s protection over him during his imprisonment.
  • Pray for God’s comforting presence upon his family and loved ones during this time of distress.

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» See also a related article Christian Governor in Indonesia Found Guilty of Blasphemy against Islam (New York Times) and read about a further development, Indonesia to Review Anti-blasphemy Laws (Straits Times).

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