Novel Chaidir Hasan Bamukmin, secretary general of the Jakarta chapter of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), leaving the courtroom after testifying as a witness in the blasphemy case against Jakarta Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama in Jakarta on Tuesday (03/01). (Antara Photo/Akbar Nugroho Gumay)

Police Confirm Not Tampering With Spelling of 'Fitsa Hats' by FPI Witness

BY :EKO PRASETYO

JANUARY 04, 2017

Jakarta. The National Police have denied tampering with a report made by a witness in the blasphemy case against Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama.

The witness, Novel Chaidir Hasan Bamukmin, admitted to intentionally misspelling the name of Pizza Hut, which later gave rise to various memes that went viral on social media.

Novel, who is the secretary general of the Jakarta chapter of the hardline Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), claimed to have worked for "Fitsa Hats" from 1992 to 1995 in the official report.

However, police special economic crimes director Brig. Gen. Agus Andrianto confirmed that investigators have always clarified the data and statements in the investigation process.

"The report was read [in front of the witness] before it was signed by the person," Agus told local media outlet Kompas on Wednesday (04/01).

Novel later conceded that "Fitsa Hats" was indeed United States-based fast-food chain Pizza Hut, prompting Ahok to speculate that he deliberately changed the name in an attempt to obscure the fact that he worked for a non-Muslim-led company.

The police said witnesses are allowed to correct their statements before signing, and investigators are not allowed to make any changes once they are signed.

"Investigators cannot change it. Moreover, the witness approved it," Agus said. "If the signee did not correct it, it is impossible for investigators to take the initiative to change the statement [as they are not allowed to]."

Ahok highlighted several issues from Tuesday's session of the trial to reporters after the eight-hour hearing in the auditorium of the Ministry of Agriculture in South Jakarta.

"He changed the phrasing of Pizza Hut and I laughed at that. He was asked [by the judges to explain this] and he later confessed to changing that part. However, he signed that report," Ahok said after the hearing.

"I thought he felt embarrassed since he has a viewpoint that does not allow him to be led by an infidel, or someone of a different faith," Ahok said.

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