Indonesia blasphemy case: Emotional scenes as Ahok trial begins
There were emotional scenes in court on the first day of the blasphemy trial of Jakarta’s governor, a Christian of Chinese descent.
Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known as Ahok, cried as he denied allegations he insulted Islam.
Mr Purnama is the first non-Muslim governor of Indonesia’s capital in 50 years.
The case is being seen as a test of religious tolerance in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation.
The prosecution said Mr Purnama insulted Islam by misusing a Koranic verse which suggests Muslims should not be ruled by non-Muslims, to boost public support ahead of February’s governorship election.
He insisted his comments were aimed at politicians “incorrectly” using a Koranic verse against him, not at the verse itself.
If convicted, he faces a maximum five-year jail sentence. After the short hearing, the trial was adjourned until 20 December.
Rights groups say the authorities have set a dangerous precedent in which a noisy hardline Islamic minority can influence the legal process, says the BBC’s Rebecca Henschke in Jakarta.
The specter on national television is really putting Secularism on trial for every Muslim majority country, either you have it or you don’t