Prosecutors will review their appeal against this month's blasphemy conviction of Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama, Attorney General HM Prasetyo said after the imprisoned governor's legal team withdrew its appeal on Monday (22/05). (Antara Photo/Akbar Nugroho Gumay)

Attorney General Gives Reasons for Not Detaining Ahok on Blasphemy Charges


DECEMBER 06, 2016

Jakarta. Attorney General HM Prasetyo has justified his decision not to detain Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama on blasphemy charges, saying it was in the public interest no to do so ahead of next year's regional election.

Responding to a question by House of Representatives Commission III deputy chairman Desmond J. Mahesa during a working meeting in Jakarta on Tuesday (06/12), Prasetyo said Ahok had been cooperative.


"[Ahok] has been cooperative, as that is what we also heard from the police," Prasetyo said.

"[The question of] Ahok's detention is not absolute, as this can also be asked of the police. Why did they not arrest him? So there were several objective and subjective considerations, as no immediate arrest was effected on the suspect," he said.

Prasetyo said he considered the broader public interest, which is the regional election. According to him the police have also deviated from their policy in Ahok's case.

"Before an election, the legal process against a candidate should be postponed, but this time it proceeded. So there are subjective and objective considerations," Prasetyo told lawmakers.

The police have also applied their standard operational procedures by not detaining Ahok and the Attorney General's Office respected their decision, Prasetyo added.

Ahok is charged with having violated Article 156 on harassment and Article 156a on blasphemy under the Indonesian Criminal Code. He could face up to five years in prison for harassment and four for blasphemy, if convicted.