Jakarta Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama in an earlier session of his blasphemy trial. (Anatara Photo/Muhammad Adimaja)

Ahok Blasphemy Trial to Be Staged Twice a Week as Verdict Expected in May

BY :BAYU MARHAENJATI

MARCH 21, 2017

Jakarta. The blasphemy trial against Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama is going to be staged twice a week as judges are expected to issue the verdict in late May, court chairman said on Tuesday (21/03).

According to the Supreme Court's circular, this kind of trials should not last longer than five months.

The blasphemy trial began in December and is going to see 15 more defense witnesses in the upcoming hearings.

During the 15th session on Tuesday, North Jakarta District Court chairman Dwiarso Budi Santiarto offered Ahok to chose whether the hearings should be long, until midnight, or to held twice a week. Ahok's lawyers agreed on the latter.

"Our concerns over timeframes shouldn't diminish the defendant's right to defense," Dwiarso said.

Tuesday's hearing featured Ahmad Ishomuddin of the Nahdlatul Ulama, University of Indonesia linguist Rahayu Surtiati and criminal law expert from Parahyangan University in Bandung, West Java, Djisman Samosir.

The governor has been accused of blasphemy after a comment on a Koranic verse in October last year. He can face up to five years in prison, if convicted.

Ahok has repeatedly denied the charges.

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