A Christian governor in Indonesia was sentenced to two years in prison for blasphemy against Islam, although he denies the charge.
An Indonesian court on Tuesday sentenced the Christian governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, to two years in prison for blasphemy against the Koran.
The ruling significantly challenges the country’s reputation as moderate in the Islamic world, particularly because prosecutors recommended a punishment of two years’ probation, not imprisonment.
However, the governor, who was brought to court last year during his reelection campaign, was found “convincingly guilty of committing blasphemy,” according to one of the five presiding judges, Dwiarso Budi Santiarto.
In a video, the governor, also known as “Ahok,” tells voters to reject an interpretation of a Koranic verse that purportedly prohibits Muslims from voting for a non-Muslim. Thereafter, the governor saw his poll numbers and comfortable lead shrink, and eventually lost the race to a Muslim challenger.
Governor: I Would Never ‘Intentionally Insult Islam’
At the beginning of his trial in December, the governor broke out in tears, rejecting the notion that he would intentionally insult Islam.
“As a person who grew up among Muslims, it is not possible for me to intentionally insult Islam because that is the same as disrespecting the people I appreciate and love,” he said, referring to his Muslim godparents.
After the sentencing, Purnama, who says he will appeal, was taken to Cipinang Prison in east Jakarta.