Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, better known as Ahok, will be charged in court for blasphemy.
This follows a statement he made by citing a Quranic verse during a meeting with voters in Kepulauan Seribu here about two months ago.
Indonesia’s National Police Chief, Tito Karnavian, told reporters in Jakarta today that a special investigation team comprising 27 people, including religious scholars, linguists and psychologists found that Ahok had insulted Islam.
“The conclusion made by the team is not unanimous. However, the criminal investigation department has agreed to name Ahok as the accused today,” he was quoted as saying by the online media.
He said there were differences in opinion between the linguists and the religious scholars but the majority of the investigation team members believed Ahok should be prosecuted, based on the fact he touched on the interpretation of the Quran.
In his speech at Kepulauan Seribu, Ahok allegedly asked Muslims not to be fooled by those who used verse from Surah Al Maidah which stated Muslims were prohibited from selecting non-Muslims as their leader.
Ahok’s statement had sparked anger among Muslims in Indonesia and hundreds of thousands of Muslims organised demonstrations to protest against Ahok in the capital, Jakarta on Nov 4.
Tito said Ahok would be charged under the Information and Electronic Transactions Law and the case would be held in open court.
If found guilty, Ahok faces a maximum imprisonment of six years and a fine of Rp1 billion (RM300,000).
Meanwhile, head of the Election Commission (KPU) for the Jakarta DKI province, Sumarno said Ahok’s status as ‘accused’ did not affect his right to contest in the election in February until he was found guilty.
He said Ahok was still free to campaign and in the meantime, must appear in court for the trial.
Ahok was also quoted as saying he would face the allegations and believed he was not guilty of slander.
“I will defend myself in court and will face any charge, I am not guilty. I did not mean to insult the religion,” he said.