Jakart Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama inside the courtroon during his blasphemy trial on Tuesday (03/01). (Antara Photo/Dharma Wijayanto)

Prosecutor’s Witnesses Against Ahok Not Fit for Trial: Watchdog


JANUARY 03, 2017

Jakarta. Indonesian Democracy Defenders Team (TPDI) coordinator Petrus Salestinus said the witnesses that the prosecutors presented in the latest session of the blasphemy trial against Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama on Tuesday (03/01) were not fit to take the witness stand.

The six witnesses had given testimonies on the governor's speech on Pramuka Island in October, in which he reportedly insulted the Koran and which triggered the blasphemy allegation against him.


But Petrus said none of the witnesses had attended the public meeting in Pramuka Island during which Ahok delivered his speech, and consequently their statements had little to no value.

"Those six people were meant to be factual witnesses, but their testimonies can't be used as evidence since they did not see or hear [Ahok's speech] in person. None of them is a resident of Pramuka Island or the Thousand Islands [district] either," Petrus said.

"Today has been a waste of time. The prosecutors' witnesses should have been rejected from the outset," Petrus said.

According to Petrus, hardliner group Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab also should not have been called on as an expert witness since he already has a grudge against Ahok.

Petrus pointed out that Rizieq is one of the official complainants in the case. "As the complainant, he should not be allowed to take the witness stand as an expert. [Expert witnesses] should be neutral and objective," Petrus said.

"Rizieq can be summoned as a factual witness, but not as an expert witness," he added.

Petrus said none of the 14 witnesses presented so far by the prosecutors actually lives in the Thousand Islands.

"They're not going to support the prosecutors' case. We're as confused as you why they have been allowed to take the witness stand," Petrus said.