Jakarta Governor Ahok at his blasphemy trial in January. (Antara Photo/Dharma Wijayanto)

Ahok Denies Accepting FPI Witness's Testimony in Blasphemy Trial


JANUARY 03, 2017

Jakarta. Prasetio Edi Marsudi, chairman of Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama's re-election campaign team, has denied a claim by Novel Chaidir Hasan, secretary general of the Jakarta branch of the Islamic Defenders Front, or FPI, that the incumbent accepted Novel's testimony against him during his blasphemy trial on Tuesday (03/01).

"Ahok has not accepted [Novel's testimony]. We're still gathering the statements from the prosecutors’ witnesses. After that it will be our turn to present the defendant’s witnesses," Prasetio said after the hearing, held in a makeshift court room at the Ministry of Agriculture headquarters on Jalan Harsono in South Jakarta.

Novel claimed Ahok had accepted his testimony on the governor's October campaign speech on Pramuka Island in Jakarta's Thousand Islands district, in which the governor allegedly insulted the Koran.

According to Novel, the court gave Ahok three options to respond to his testimony: reject, partly reject or accept all of it.

"Ahok had initially rejected everything. But he finally accepted parts of my statement in front of the judges," Novel claimed.

The secretary general of FPI Jakarta said he would not have to attend the trial again as Ahok had already accepted his testimony on Tuesday.

Ahok, a Christian of Chinese descent, was declared a suspect in a blasphemy investigation in mid-November amid mounting pressure from Muslim hardliners who had staged a series of large demonstrations against him in the last few months.

Last week's session in the blasphemy trial saw the judges turn down Ahok's note of objection and call to strike down the case, which his lawyers claimed had breached procedures.