Ahok's blasphemy trial resumes in Jakarta, judges expected to take call on governor's refutation

The trail has resumed after 2 weeks in a new location due to security threats.

Jakarta's Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama gestures inside the courtroom during his blasphemy trial at the North Jakarta District Court in Jakarta, Indonesia, December 27, 2016. Reuters

The highly controversial blasphemy trial of Jakarta's Christian governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama resumes today after two weeks.

The judges are expected to announce their decision regarding Ahok's exception that was discussed on 13 December when the trial began. The governor arrived at the Agriculture Ministry complex in South Jakarta at around 8:00 am, one hour before the trial began.

The governor, who has a Chinese origin, was named as the primary suspect in the high-profile blasphemy case on 16 November after he was accused of insulting the Quran by Muslim hardliners of Indonesia. It is believed that the governor, during a speech, criticised his opponents for citing a verse in the Quran which warns Muslims against forming an alliance with Christians and Jews saying that they were "lying".

Also read: Ahok blasphemy trial begins: Tearful Jakarta governor professes respect for Islam

However, during the first hearing, Ahok apologised with moist eyes while he read out his exception before the judges' panel. In between his tears, he said that he never wanted to insult the Quran. "I did not intend to misinterpret Surah Al Maidah 51 nor commit blasphemy nor insult ulemas," he said.

Meanwhile, radical Muslims in Indonesia are baying for the blood of Ahok and they are calling for his immediate arrest. There have been instances of violence and clashes between Muslims and police following which the administration felt that security of Ahok might be in danger.

Also read: Indonesia: Ahok blasphemy trial shifted out of central Jakarta over security concerns

On 22 December, the Supreme Court (MA) approved the shifting of the trail from Central Jakarta Court building to the Agriculture Ministry's main hall in South Jakarta."The MA chief justice has agreed to move Ahok's trial venue due to security reasons as recommended by the Jakarta Police and the Jakarta High Prosecutors' Office," said Ridwan Mansyur, the court's spokesperson, according to The Jakarta Post.