Indonesia: Jakarta’s Christian governor answers police summons in blasphemy probe

On Friday, over 100,000 people from various Muslim groups swarmed Jakarta streets to urge authorities to prosecute Ahok for alleged religious defamation.
Gubernatorial candidate and incumbent Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama answered a police summons on Monday to be interrogated on his role in an alleged blasphemy case, three days after a mass demonstration pressured police to prosecute him.

Ahok arrived at the National Police’s headquarters in South Jakarta at 8:15 a.m., accompanied by several members of his gubernatorial campaign team, including City Council Speaker Prasetio Edi Marsudi of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), councilors Merry Hotma of the PDI-P, Muhammad “Ongen” Sangaji of the Hanura Party and Democratic Party lawmaker Ruhut Sitompul, who is also a lawyer.

“As leader of Ahok’s campaign team, I want to give him moral support,” Prasetio told reporters.

Ahok, meanwhile, made no comments before entering to the National Police’s Criminal Investigation Department (Bareskrim) office, only giving a smile and wave to the press.

Ruhut, meanwhile, said Ahok and his campaign team would respect the ongoing legal process.

“We respect Pak Tito [Karnavian, the National Police chief]. We will wait whether there is any [basis] for religious defamation or not. If not, then we should accept it. Indonesia is a country that is based on the rule of law,” he said.

Previously on Friday, over 100,000 people from various Muslim groups swarmed Jakarta streets to urge authorities to prosecute Ahok for alleged religious defamation.

Ahok, a Christian and Indonesian of Chinese descent in a Muslim-majority country, has sparked uproar among Islamic groups after he made a comment about a Quranic verse during his visit to Thousand Islands regency in late September. The police has received dozens of reports regarding the case. (hwa)

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