Jakarta Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama will testify for the first time in his blasphemy trial on Tuesday (04/04). (Antara Photo/Irwan Rismawan)

Six Prosecution Witnesses Testify in Ahok Blasphemy Trial

BY :HARI WIRO

JANUARY 03, 2017

Jakarta. Six witnesses testified for the prosecution during the fourth session of Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama's blasphemy trial in South Jakarta on Tuesday (03/01).

Dedi Suhardadi, a member of the legal team for the group calling itself the National Movement to Guard the Fatwas of the Indonesian Ulema Council (GNPF-MUI) said his side gave testimony on the statement Ahok made during a visit to Pramuka Island in Jakarta's Thousand Islands district in September, when he allegedly committed blasphemy.

Ahok reportedly told residents that they should not believe in those that use Surah Al Maidah 51 to influence them not to vote for him in this year's Jakarta gubernatorial election, in which he is seeking re-election.

"We have provided all the information we had [related to Ahok's speech] on the island. There is also a WhatsApp video we have handed in as evidence," Dedi told reporters during an adjournment.

He confirmed that the trial was open to the public, but that the media was not allowed to broadcast it live.

"We made arrangements [with court officials] earlier and were allowed to enter, as we have to protect our interests [during the proceedings]," Dedi said.

He said the GNPF-MUI would stand by its blasphemy allegation against Ahok because the Koran should not be defamed.

Ahok, a Christian of Chinese descent, was declared a suspect in the blasphemy case in mid-November amid mounting pressure from Muslim hard-liners, who staged a series of mass demonstrations against him.

In what Ahok's lawyers have described as a breach of procedures, the panel of judges rejected his note of objections and a call for the case to be struck down during last week's session.

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