Jakarta Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama at his tr(Antara Photo/Sigid Kurniawan)

Djarot to Take Over From Ahok After Governor Found Guilty of Blasphemy


MAY 09, 2017

Jakarta. Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo said Jakarta Deputy Governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat will take over as acting governor from current Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama until their term ends in October. The governor was found guilty of blasphemy by the North Jakarta District Court on Tuesday (09/05) and was immediately taken into custody at Jakarta's Cipinang Prison.

The ministry will request a copy of the complete verdict from the court and then ask for a presidential decree to be issued to install Djarot as acting governor.

"The deputy governor will take over until Ahok and Djarot's term ends, before the handover to the next governor," Tjahjo said.

Ahok arrived at Cipinang Prison in East Jakarta at 12.18 p.m. in an armored vehicle, greeted by hundreds of his supporters.

The governor did not say a word to the waiting media, though a wry smile broke across his face as he got out of the armored car.

State prosecutor Ali Mukartono said Ahok is not yet a convict in the case, but still a detainee.

Ali said he believed the judges' verdict in the case was not "politically motivated."

The judges, led by Dwiarso Budi Santiarto, found Ahok guilty of the heavier blasphemy charge instead of the lesser charge of publicly expressed feelings of hostility, hatred or contempt against one or more groups in Indonesia demanded by the prosecutors.

Ahok's lawyer, on the other hand, said huge political pressures have affected the verdict.

"There is clearly political motivation at play in this case. In many other democratic countries, the blasphemy law is never absolute, but relative. If [the Chinese-Christian] Ahok was not a member of a minority, he may not have to go through all this," Tomy Sihotang, one of the lawyers in Ahok's defense team, said.

Another of Ahok's lawyer, I Wayan Sidarta, echoed Tomy's comments: "Although we can't accept it, we can understand how the judges came to their decision. There's huge political pressure out there."