Jakarta Governor Basuki
Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, center, talks to his lawyers after his sentencing hearing at a court.

Christian governor of Jakarta jailed for blasphemy

The Christian governor of Jakarta has been sentenced to two years in jail for blasphemy in a case that has undermined Indonesia's reputation for practising a moderate form of Islam.

Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama said he would appeal against the guilty verdict and sentence.

The five-judge panel said he was "convincingly proven guilty of blasphemy" and ordered his arrest.

The lead judge, Dwiarso Budi Santiarto, said his comment during an election campaign that people were being deceived if they believed the Quran forbids Muslims from voting for non-Muslims had degraded and insulted Islam.

"As part of a religious society, the defendant should be careful to not use words with negative connotations regarding the symbols of religions including the religion of the defendant himself," he said.

The trial was a purely criminal one and the court disagreed that there were political aspects to the case, the lead judge said.

The two-year prison sentence was a surprise as prosecutors had recommended a two-year suspended sentence.

More on this at The Independent