Police urged to drop blasphemy case against Ahok – The National Police should immediately drop a criminal investigation into Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama’s alleged blasphemy, rights group Amnesty International has said.
“By carrying out a criminal investigation and naming Ahok as a suspect, the authorities have shown they are more worried about hard-line religious groups than respecting and protecting human rights for all,” Amnesty International’s director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Rafendi Djamin, said on Thursday.
The group’s call was in response to the police’s move on Wednesday to name Ahok a suspect in a blasphemy case filed by several religious groups. Ahok, a Christian, is the first member of Indonesia’s ethnic Chinese community to be the governor of Jakarta.
“Among the police, opinion is divided on whether the case should proceed, showing that the decision to open an investigation against Ahok is a controversial step,” Rafendi said.
He referred to a statement on Wednesday from the police’s Criminal Investigation Department (Bareskrim) head Comr. General Ari Dono, who said: “Although there are different opinions among police investigators, most agreed that the case should be settled in an open trial.”
Amnesty International noted that the announcement of the police investigation came after more than 100,000 people demonstrated against Ahok earlier this month, calling on the police to charge him for insulting Islam. The protestors also called for voters to not reelect him next year following the purported comments, it stated.
Ahok has denied making any blasphemous remarks.