... I did not make slanderous statements against a religion as alleged."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Incumbent Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok) defended himself by claiming there was no evidence that he had insulted Islam or undermined adherents of a particular religion during his 19th blasphemy trial here, Tuesday.

"I do believe that the panel of judges will consider all facts and legal evidence presented during these trials in which the prosecutors have also admitted and verified that I did not make slanderous statements against a religion as alleged," the defendant, popularly known by his nickname "Ahok," stated while reading his defense plea.

Reading his defense plea titled "Keep Serving Though Slandered" at the North Jakarta District Court here, Ahok expressed hope that the panel of judges would give a fair verdict, as it was not proven that he had insulted Islam.

During the 18th trial, the prosecutors had demanded the court to sentence Ahok to one years imprisonment and to place him on probation for two years over blasphemy charges.

"Hence, it is concluded that Jakarta Governor Ahok has been legitimately proven and has convincingly met formulations of criminal element in line with the second alternative Article No. 156 of the Criminal Code (KUHP)," Ali Mukartono, the chief prosecutor, noted during the trial held at the North Jakarta District Court, at the Agriculture Ministry, here, on Apr 20.

The prosecutors highlighted incriminating considerations, including the fact that the defendant had caused public unrest and misunderstanding among Indonesian community groups.

Among the mitigating considerations were that the defendant was polite during trials, had contributed to the development of Jakarta, and claimed to have transformed himself into a better human being.

"We call for the judge to sentence the defendant to one year in prison in addition to a two-year probation period for expressing hate or insult toward a section of Indonesian society," Mukartono noted.

The North Jakarta District Court is expected to hand down a ruling before the fasting month of Ramadhan, which will fall in May.

Ahoks blasphemy trial began on December 13, 2016.

The Jakarta governor has been accused of blasphemy against the Islamic Holy Book of Al Quran when he gave a speech in the Seribu Islands, northern Jakarta, last September.

During his speech, Ahok said the voters had been lied to by those citing sura Al Maida verse 51 of the Al Quran.

Blasphemy is a criminal offense in Indonesia and is punishable by up to five years in prison.

(Reported by Benardy F./T.R013/Uu.F001/INE/KR-BSR/O001)

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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