The outgoing governor of Jakarta has been sentenced to two years in prison for blasphemy and inciting violence. Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known as Ahok, was the first ethnic Chinese Christian to run Indonesia’s capital, and the case was seen as a test of the country’s religious tolerance.
He was accused of insulting Islam by referring to a verse in the Koran during a campaign speech in September, 2016. Purnama denied blasphemy and in court said he would mount an appeal.
The sentence is harsher than most observers had expected – prosecutors had called for a suspended one-year sentence.
He implied that Islamic leaders were trying to trick voters by using a verse in the Koran to argue that Muslims should not vote for a non-Muslim leader.
Ahead of the verdict, protesters for and against Purnama had gathered outside the court demanding respectively his acquittal or a long prison sentence.
Purnama became governor after his predecessor, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, was elected president in 2014.