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Indonesian court adjourns blasphemy trial of Jakarta's Governor Ahok

ABC Radio Australia - April 11, 2017

Samantha Hawley, Indonesia An Indonesian court has adjourned the high-profile blasphemy trial of the city's Christian Governor until after a bitterly fought election next week.

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, or Ahok as he is commonly known, faces up to five years in prison if found guilty of insulting Islam over references he made to the Koran during a campaign speech.

Jakarta's police chief had urged the North Jakarta District Court to delay hearing the prosecutors' sentencing request this morning, arguing it could lead to unrest similar to that seen on the streets of Jakarta last year.

Radical Islamic groups, including the Islamic Defenders Front, argue Muslims should not vote for a non-Muslim leaders and they want Ahok jailed for blasphemy. Ahok's supporters said the charges against the ethnic Chinese Governor are politically motivated.

Ahok will come up against a Muslim candidate and former education minister, Annies Baswedan, in the second round of the election next Wednesday.

The third candidate, Agus Yudhoyono, the son of the former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, was knocked out in the first round of the election in February.

After the court ruling, Ahok's opponents expressed their disappointment. "We ask the panel of judges to really pay attention to the aspirations of the people who want justice," Edri Kasman, one of the witnesses in the case against Ahok, said. "We don't agree with this and we are very disappointed."

Source: http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-04-11/indonesian-court-adjourns-blasphemy-trial-of-jakartas-governor-ahok/1664272.

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