Christian governor of Jakarta gets 2 years in jail for blasphemy

Crowds gathered outside the court, demanding that Ahok be given the maximum five-year sentence for blasphemy.

According to the verdict, Purnama was "found to have legitimately and convincingly conducted a criminal act of blasphemy, and because of that we have imposed two years of imprisonment".

"Despite protests of his innocence and evidence that his words were manipulated for political purposes, he has been sentenced to two years in jail".

During the reading of the verdict, the judges said evidence proved that Basuki had deliberately committed blasphemy and hence was guilty of the charge.

Ahok was accused of blasphemy past year when a video surfaced of him telling voters they were being deceived if they believed a specific verse in the Quran prohibited Muslims from electing a non-Muslim as leader. They staged regular large rallies calling for him to face trial.

The lead judge, Dwiarso Budi Santiarto, said the Governor's comment during an election campaign had degraded and insulted Islam.

Nearly five months after the controversial case began, a panel of five judges from North Jakarta District Court handed down the decision on Tuesday, leaving his supporters stunned.

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The judge at the North Jakarta District Court, while sentencing, noted that Ahok, a Chinese-ethnic Christian, did not show any remorse and said he was able to break the unity of Indonesia before his arrest was ordered, Efe news reported.

Speaking to CNN, Greg Fealy, associate professor of Indonesian politics at the Australian National University, said: "If you were a non-Muslim and you were considering a career in public life, you're probably more likely to think twice about that". "This is a sad day for equality among citizens in Indonesia".

The minority Christian governor is now on trial on accu. Ahok said he would appeal but it was unclear if he would be released once an appeal was underway.

The sentence is harsher than most observers had expected - prosecutors had called for a suspended one-year sentence.

A top Christian politician in the world's largest Muslim nation has been jailed for making supposedly blasphemous comments.

Purnama had on a work trip past year said political rivals were deceiving people by using a verse in the Quran to say Muslims should not be led by a non-Muslim.

Security Minister Minister Wiranto has urged people to respect Tuesday's verdict. Despite the political motivation many observers see in his trial, the case is regarded as worrying by rights activists. "Therefore we will appeal".

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