World Bulletin / News Desk
An Indonesian court ruled Tuesday that it would proceed with a blasphemy case against the governor of Jakarta.
Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama has been accused of insulting clergy and the Quran during a speech in the Thousand Islands at the end of September that later triggered uproar across Indonesia -- the world's most populous Muslim nation.
During the first day of his trial earlier this month, the governor said that in his speech he had referred to "certain politicians" who had misused the Quran's Surah Al Maidah 51 to influence voters not to choose a non-Muslim as a politician.
Ahok, a Christian of Chinese descent, is one of three candidates -- one a son of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono -- for the Feb. 15, 2017 gubernatorial election in which he hopes to be returned as governor.
On Tuesday, a panel of judges at the North Jakarta District Court rejected Ahok’s argument against the indictment as “inaccurate”, paving the way for the trial to resume with the examination of witnesses.
"The judges consider the indictment accurate, clear and complete,” Judge Budi Dwiarso was quoted as saying by detik.com.
“The trial against the defendant Basuki Tjahaja Purnama is ordered to be continued.”
He said proof for Ahok’s statement that he had no intention of insulting Islam must be provided in the next session.
The trial is set to resume next Tuesday.
Since being accused of blasphemy, Ahok has apologized for his original comment and maintained that he was calling for people not to be “deceived” by those using the chapter, not that the verse itself was insulting.
“It is clear that the verse was not intended for the appointment of a head of an administration, especially in Indonesia, in which the head of an administration does not serve as a religious leader," Ahok said during a hearing earlier this month.
The trial could take two to three months.
If found guilty, Ahok faces up to five years in prison.