Buni Yani, center, is released from prison on Thursday after serving 11 months for inciting hatred. (Antara Photo/Reno Esnir)

Man Who Triggers Ahok's Blasphemy Conviction Released From Jail


JANUARY 02, 2020

Jakarta. Buni Yani, the man who played a key role in the blasphemy allegation that led to the criminal conviction of former Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, was put on parole on Thursday after serving 11 months in prison for inciting hatred.

Buni left the Gunung Sindur Penitentiary in Bogor, West Java, at noon after his parole was approved. 

The Bandung District Court sentenced him to one and a half years in November 2017 for inciting hatred, after he uploaded a video of a speech by Ahok that angered hardline Muslims and triggered a series of massive rallies in the capital demanding a blasphemy trial and Ahok’s resignation from the Jakarta governor post.

Buni was sent to prison in February last year after his appeals were turned down by both the West Java High Court and the Supreme Court.


“Buni Yani was released from the Gunung Sindur Penitentiary today after he received his parole," Abdul Aris, head of the West Java correctional affairs, said.

Abdul said Buni had spent 11 months in prison and been granted a month of sentence cut. According to the 1995 Law on Correctional Institution, a convict is entitled to parole after serving at least two-thirds of a jail term.

Irfan Iskandar, an attorney for Buni, said his client would return to teaching activities.

"He told me he would open a special class to memorize the Koran," Irfan said.

Buni was sentenced for knowingly disseminating a heavily edited video containing a section many consider to be insulting of the Koran.

In the speech Ahok made on Pramuka Island in Jakarta's Thousand Islands district in September 2016, then the Jakarta governor said nobody should manipulate verses from the Koran for political gain.

The judges said Buni had also changed the duration of Ahok's speech, taking parts of it out of the original context. The original video lasted 1 hour 48 minutes and 33 seconds, while the clip Buni posted on his Facebook account was only 30 seconds long.

The video went viral ahead of the Jakarta gubernatorial election, in which Ahok eventually lost to rival Anies Baswedan. Ahok was then found guilty of blasphemy and sentenced to two years' imprisonment in May 2017.