Sunday, September 24, 2023

Former Minister Roy Suryo Detained over Blasphemy Charge

August 5, 2022 | 10:45 pm
Former sports minister Roy Suryo, center, arrives at the Jakarta Police headquarters for interrogation on July 14, 2022. (Beritasatu Photo/Prasetyo Nugroho)
Former sports minister Roy Suryo, center, arrives at the Jakarta Police headquarters for interrogation on July 14, 2022. (Beritasatu Photo/Prasetyo Nugroho)

Jakarta. Former Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Roy Suryo was detained by the Jakarta Police on Friday evening, two weeks after he was named a suspect for alleged blasphemy related to his tweets about the Buddhist temple Borobudur.

Roy, who served as minister from 2013-14 during the Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono presidency, is also accused of fomenting anxiety in the public for the tweet containing the picture of a Buddhist statue edited to resemble the face of President Joko Widodo.

"Investigators decided to detain Roy Suryo Motodiprojo as a suspect for spreading hatred starting tonight," Jakarta Police spokesman Chief Comr. Endra Zulpan said in a news conference at his office.

According to the Criminal Procedure Code, police may detain a suspect for 20 days and ask extension if necessary.


Zulpan said Roy’s cellular phone and Twitter account “have been seized” in the interest of the ongoing investigation.

The Democratic Party politician is charged under Article 156a of the Criminal Code on blasphemy which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, in addition to the Law on Electronic Information and Transaction for spreading false information using information technology.

Roy left the Jakarta Police office in a wheelchair after he was named a suspect on July 22 and arrived with neck support in the following questioning a week later. 

But last weekend he was seen taking part in an event hosted by the association of Mercedes car owners in a Jakarta suburb.

Police said the decision to detain him has nothing to do with the gathering.

Roy, 54, was named a suspect after a representative of Buddhist community Buddha Nusantara lodged a police complaint when his now-deleted post went viral, suggesting that the former minister has offended Buddhist followers in the country.

Roy has since publicly apologized to the Buddhist community and argued that he had no intention to offend them.

He also said he is not the person who doctored the picture and has reported the Twitter account that published the original post to the police.

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