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Jakarta Former Governor Ahok Found Guilty Of Blasphemy

The outgoing governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, has been sentenced to two years in prison for blasphemy and inciting violence.

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known as Ahok, was the first ethnic Chinese Christian to run Indonesia’s capital, and the case was seen as a test of the country’s religious tolerance.

He was accused of insulting Islam by referring to a verse in the Koran during a campaign speech. Mr. Purnama denied blasphemy and said in court he would appeal the Judgment.

The sentence is harsher than most observers had expected – prosecutors had called for a suspended one-year sentence.

Mr. Purnama was accused of blasphemy for comments he made during a pre-election speech last September, which implied that Islamic leaders were trying to trick voters by using a verse in the Koran to argue that Muslims should not vote for a non-Muslim leader.

His remarks, which were widely shared in an edited video, sparked outrage among religious hardliners.

Throughout the trial, Mr. Purnama denied wrongdoing, but however apologise for his comments.

Ahead of the verdict, protesters for and against Mr. Purnama gathered outside the court demanding respectively his acquittal or a long prison sentence.

Indonesia is the world’s most-populous Muslim country with about eighty five percent of its population Muslims, but the country officially respects six religions.

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