Jakarta Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama sits down after a short discussion with his legal counsel during the final hearing session at the North Jakarta District Court's makeshift courtroom in Pasar Minggu, South Jakarta, on Tuesday (09/05). (Antara Photo/Sigid Kurniawan)

Ahok's Sentencing Dominates Twitter


MAY 09, 2017

Jakarta. The North Jakarta District Court’s guilty verdict for blasphemy charges and two-year prison sentence for Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama ignited Indonesia's social media, especially Twitter, on Tuesday (09/05).

Twitter Indonesia was awash with posts on the controversies surrounding Ahok's case and sentencing. Worldwide, tweets about Ahok even upstaged conversations about TV series Game of Thrones.

Many of Indonesia's netizens expressed their support for the governor and his family, including Rommy Adams:

Another Twitter user deplored the political conditions in Indonesia and worried about the effect of Ahok's guilty verdict on the economy:

Others showed support using the hashtags #RIPHukum [RIP Rule of Law] and #Stand4Ahok.

Many also demanded revoking Indonesia's blasphemy law, which was first issued in 1965. Among them was VleoDjoe, who spoke out about what he claimed as Indonesia's mob-ruled justice system:

Political watchdog Setara Insitute issued a press release commenting on the controversial law. Its chairman Hendardi said Ahok's blasphemy trial was the 97th between 1965 and 2017.

Meanwhile, according to investigative journalist Andreas Harsono in an interview with the Guardian last year, there have been more than 200 blasphemy cases in Indonesia since it was written by President Sukarno in 1965 and that there was only one case where the suspect was acquitted.

Hendardi said judges in Ahok's blasphemy trial have been working under the pressure of the mob. The verdict, according to him, confirmed that the blasphemy law — Article 156a of the Criminal Code — is also prone to manipulation.

A trial by mob, Hendardi said, undermines the rule of law and endangers democracy.

Ahok said immediately after his sentence was handed down that he will appeal the guilty verdict from the North Jakarta District Court.