Indonesia | Christian Ex-Governor Ahok Released
On 24 January, Jakarta’s former governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known as Ahok was released from prison. He served almost two years for blasphemy against Islam.
Ahok was granted early release for good behaviour. His eldest son and a group of supporters met him outside the prison.
“Ahok will finally be out of prison and reunited with his family, but he should never have been imprisoned in the first place,” Elaine Pearson of Human Rights Watch said.
“Ahok’s unjust conviction is a reminder that minorities in Indonesia are at risk so long as the abusive blasphemy law remains in place.”
According to Human Rights Watch, more than 150 people have gone to prison for blasphemy in Indonesia since 1968. At least six of these people were convicted in 2018 alone.
Ahok’s Back Story
The Indonesian authorities charged Ahok with blasphemy in December 2016. He was running for re-election as governor of Indonesia’s capital.
Ahok’s case gained worldwide coverage and saw mass protests by hard-line Islamic groups calling for his conviction. In May 2017 a court found him guilty of blasphemy based on a video with tampered footage. The footage showed him accusing his political opponents of using Quranic verses to dissuade Muslims from voting for him.
Ahok’s case is an example of the growing religious intolerance in Indonesia, a nation with the largest Muslim population in the world.
- Praise God that Ahok is no longer in prison.
- Pray for Christians who face imprisonment for their faith.
- Pray that Indonesian Christians will share the gospel courageously.
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