BREAKING: Yudhoyono Denies Collusion With Ma'ruf in Ahok Blasphemy Case, Requests Audience With Jokowi

BY :EKO PRASETYO

FEBRUARY 01, 2017

Jakarta. Former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said he will "seek justice" over allegations that he had been colluding with Ma'ruf Amin, a witness for the prosecution in the blasphemy case against Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama.

Yudhoyono said a recording of a telephone conversation between himself and Ma'ruf, which Ahok's lawyers allegedly received, constituted wiretapping and political espionage and is therefore illegal.

"To me, illegal wiretapping is a very serious matter. We have the Law on Information and Electronic Transactions, or ITE. […] It contains articles that forbid anyone from conducting illegal wiretapping, as mentioned in Article 31," Yudhoyono said.

"If my conversation with Ma'ruf Amin was wiretapped, I hope that law enforcement officials will uphold the ITE Law," he added.

Yudhoyono insisted that he would follow up with developments in the wiretapping allegation, as he believes in equality before the law for all citizens.

"I really want to see the transcript, as it says that they have all the details of my conversation," he said.

Although he did not file any legal complaints, Yudhoyono has called on the government to conduct a thorough investigation into the case.

Meeting Between Agus and Ma'ruf

The former president said there was nothing sinister about the meeting between his son, Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, and Ma'ruf, chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI).

"Agus and Sylvi [Sylviana Murni] requested blessings for their efforts in running for the Jakarta governor's seat," Yudhoyono said.

He claimed that there were no direct meetings or phone calls between himself and Ma'ruf in relation to allegations that he was involved in the issuance of an edict against Ahok, as stated by Ma'ruf during the blasphemy trial.

He encouraged the public to ask the MUI directly for the background of the edict against Ahok.

"I consider any transcripts of my conversation with Ma'ruf – if any – to be crimes, as it is illegal," Yudhoyono said. He added that if the wiretapping actually took place, those responsible should be prosecuted.

"My rights have been stepped on [or undermined], despite my privacy being protected by law," he said.

Audience With Jokowi

Meanwhile, before questioning the wiretapping, Yudhoyono said he would like to have an audience with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

He said a meeting with Jokowi would help clarify all ongoing accusations against him, which have become widespread.

However, Yudhoyono said several parties have prevented him from meeting with the president.

"I think that a person who can prevent the president from meeting me must be a 'great' man," he added, without elaborating.

Several former presidents and senior politicians have previously met with Jokowi. This includes former President B.J. Habibie, former Vice President Try Sutrisno and Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) chairman Prabowo Subianto – Jokowi's rival in the last presidential election.

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