Police finish Ahok probe as Dec. 2 rally looms
Source: The Jakarta Post
By Callistasia Anggun Wijaya and Agnes Anya
Jakarta | Sat, November 26, 2016 | 07:49 am
The National Police have kept their word to swiftly conclude their investigation into blasphemy allegations against Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama as conservative Muslim groups plan another large-scale rally to demand the governor be arrested.
It is likely that the governor, who is seeking another term in the Feb. 15 election, will stand trial before election day.
The police officially handed over Ahok’s case dossier to prosecutors at the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta, on Friday, less than two weeks after the governor was charged with blasphemy.
“We have completed our investigation and have finished the governor’s case dossier. We handed over the dossier to the AGO, which has shown its readiness to handle sensitive cases like this,” National Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto said.
The 826-page case dossier includes a list of 16 pieces of evidence, including the police’s investigation report on a video of Ahok’s allegedly blasphemous statement in Thousand Islands on Sept. 27.
The dossier also contains statements from 12 people who have denounced Ahok, five of their eyewitnesses, 12 experts, as well as six witnesses and six other experts presented by Ahok during interrogations, in addition to Ahok himself.
The AGO hinted that Ahok might stand trial in the next few weeks.
“Considering their comprehensive investigation, including the organizing of a case screening, we believe the police have worked optimally to handle this case,” AGO junior prosecutor for general crimes, Noor Rahmad said.“It is likely it won’t take too long for us to examine this case,” he added.
Noor said prosecutors would directly examine whether Ahok’s alleged blasphemy fulfilled all requirements set out in the Criminal Law Procedures Code (KUHAP). Once the case dossier examination was finished, he said, the AGO would immediately declare it P-21, meaning complete, although according to the KUHAP, prosecutors have 14 days to respond to a case dossier.
Noor further explained that he had appointed 10 prosecutors from his office, two prosecutors from the Jakarta Prosecutor’s Office and one prosecutor from the North Jakarta Prosecutor’s Office to examine the case.
The law enforcers have been facing strong public pressure to conclude Ahok’s case following a large-scale rally in the capital on Nov. 4, which saw more than 100,000 protesters calling for the prosecution of the governor.
The blasphemy controversy became a national issue following allegations that “political actors” had been using anti-Ahok sentiment to oust President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, known to an ally of Ahok.
Jokowi has been scrambling to keep the situation under control by meeting Muslim leaders and visiting the headquarters of the nation’s armed forces.
He has also promised that he would not protect Ahok and would let law enforcers do their job.
But several hard-line Islamic groups are still not satisfied with the police’s laying of the blasphemy charges and demand that he be detained. They initially planned to hold a major rally on Nov. 25, but then postponed it to Dec. 2.
Ahok’s lawyer, Sirra Prayuna, declined to comment on the prospect of Ahok standing trial before election day, saying the AGO had not yet declared the dossier complete.
On the day the police named him a blasphemy suspect, Ahok expressed hope that his case would be brought to court soon.
“I hope this case can be immediately processed so people can witness a live trial [via television]. I believe I’m not guilty,” he said.