Ahok Attends Second Session in Blasphemy Trial


DECEMBER 20, 2016

Jakarta. Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama faced the second session of blasphemy trial at North Jakarta District Court on Tuesday morning (20/12), with prosecutors set to respond to the defendant's note of objections.

North Jakarta District Court spokesman Hasoloan Sianturi said prosecutors will respond to Basuki's note of objections which was delivered in last week's hearing.

Basuki, accompanied by 32 lawyers, attended the second session of hearing led by presiding Judge Dwiyarso Budi Santiarto which began just before 9 a.m.

A crowd of hundreds rallied at the North Jakarta District Court temporary building on Jalan Gajah Mada, some in support of the governor while others demanded his arrest.

The Islamic Movement Alliance (API) and Islamic Defenders' Front (FPI) gathered at the building at 6.45 a.m., state-run Antara news agency reported.

Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Raden Prabowo Argo Yowono told BeritaSatu News Channel the police have deployed a number of personnel to secure the protest and ensure access to Jalan Gajah Mada for workers and residents.

Basuki, who was accompanied by 20 of his lawyers at last week's hearing, delivered an emotional statement last week saying he had no intention of insulting Islam when referring to a Koranic verse during a public speech in September.

Police declared the governor, who is a Christian of Chinese descent, a suspect in mid-November in a blasphemy investigation launched amid mounting pressure from Muslim hardliners, who staged a wave of mass demonstrations against him over the past two months.

Last week's hearing also drew further Muslim protests, but police said the day's proceedings continued without any disruption with thousands of officers safeguarding the venue.