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)
Prosecutors to Review Appeal Against Ahok Blasphemy Conviction
BY :ALIN ALMANAR
MAY 23, 2017
Jakarta. 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).
A decision by prosecutors to follow suit means the North Jakarta District Court's verdict, in which Ahok was sentenced to two years in prison for insulting Islam, will be legally binding.
The "relevance" and "urgency" of the prosecutors' appeal will be subject to review, Prasetyo said as quoted by state-run news agency Antara on Tuesday.
Prasetyo earlier said prosecutors would appeal the sentencing in Ahok's blasphemy conviction as a move "based on [prosecutors'] standard operating procedures."
The attorney general also cited a desire to examine the "professionalism" of the prosecutors involved in Ahok's case, as the court convicted the governor of blasphemy instead of hate speech as recommended by the attorney general's office.
"We'll review again the prosecutors' firmness in proving that it wasn't blasphemy," Prasetyo said in Jakarta on Tuesday.
Prosecutors recommended a lighter sentence of just a two-year probation with a possible one-year prison term for Ahok on hate speech charges, not blasphemy.
One of Ahok's lawyers, Teguh Samudera, told reporters in Jakarta that his team will respect whatever decision prosecutors reach.
"We can't intervene. It's their authority to do as they see fit."
Teguh, referring to the prosecutors' lighter sentence recommendation, added: "If the prosecutors continue with their appeal and it is later approved, Ahok has to be freed for the sake of justice."
Ahok was found guilty earlier this month of insulting Islam, after thousands of hardline Muslims continuously took to the streets of Jakarta for months, putting massive pressure on the judges in the case.