Indonesia court to proceed with blasphemy trial of Jakarta’s governor

Jakarta's governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama walks outside the court room shortly after his trial at the North Jakarta District Court in Jakarta, Indonesia

Jakarta’s governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama walks outside the court room shortly after his trial at the North Jakarta District Court in Jakarta, Indonesia December 27, 2016. REUTERS/Bagus Indahono/Pool

Source: Reuters

By Gayatri Suroyo | JAKARTA

An Indonesian court will proceed with a controversial blasphemy trial against Jakarta’s Christian governor, who is accused of insulting the Koran, a judge said on Tuesday, a case seen as a test of religious freedom in the Muslim-majority nation.

A panel of judges rejected a call by lawyers defending Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama to strike down the case because it had violated the ethnic Chinese politician’s human rights and breached procedures.

“The exception by the defendant will be considered and decided by the court after examination of all evidence. The defendant’s exception is not accepted,” said Judge Abdul Rosyad.

A tearful Purnama denied at his first hearing on Dec. 13 that he had intended to insult the Koran while he was campaigning ahead of elections in February for the governorship of Jakarta, capital of the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation.

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