Yunarto Wijaya of Charta Politika, a political watchdog, has warned of a strong political influence in Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama's blasphemy trial. (Antara Photo/Resa Esnir)

Three Prosecution Witnesses Fail to Turn Up in Ahok's Blasphemy Trial

BY :BAYU MARHAENJATI

JANUARY 17, 2017

Jakarta. The sixth session in Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama's blasphemy trial on Tuesday (17/01) featured just three prosecution witnesses as three other ones failed to turn up.

Led by presiding judge Dwiarso Budi Santiarto, the session ran for less than five hours in a makeshift courtroom at the Ministry of Agriculture headquarters in South Jakarta.

One witness, Willyudin Abdul Rosyid, filed a police report against Ahok to the Bogor Police.

The other two witnesses were officers of the Bogor Police, Chief Brig. Agung Hermawan and First Brig. Ahmad Hamdani, who took down the police report (BAP) filed by Willyudin.

During the hearing, the judges grilled the three witnesses on whether or not the information they had included in their police reports was accurate.

Three other prosecution witnesses, Ibnu Baskoro, Muhammad Asroi Saputra and Iman Sudirman, failed to attend the hearing.

The prosecutors tried to present two other witnesses, Yulihardy and Nurholis Madjid, but the move was rejected by Ahok's lawyers.

"We came to court today to listen to the already registered prosecution witnesses, not these two replacements," Ahok's lawyer Humphrey Djemat said.

The blasphemy trial will continue on Jan. 25 to hear the testimonies of the three prosecution witnesses who failed to attend today's hearing.

Ahok, a Christian of Chinese descent, was declared a blasphemy suspect in mid-November last year amid mounting pressure from hardliner groups who staged a series of mass demonstrations demanding his arrest.

Judges had already rejected the governor's note of objections, which called for the case to be canned after breaching procedure.

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