Jakarta governor found guilty in landmark blasphemy trial

Purnama, who was the first ever ethnic Chinese Christian to lead Jakarta, saw his polling numbers drop considerably following the blasphemy accusations.

Indonesians are divided between shock and jubilation after Jakarta's governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama was sentenced to two years prison for blaspheming the Quran.

After the sentencing, Purnama, who says he will appeal, was taken to Cipinang Prison in east Jakarta.

"Ahok will be jailed because he insulted religion", read one of many anti-Purnama posts on the Facebook account of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), a conservative group instrumental in organising mass protests against Purnama.

Tuesday's jail sentence and his loss last month to a Muslim challenger in the Jakarta vote, which he had once been favourite to win, has fuelled fears that hardliners are growing increasingly influential and that the country's much-vaunted tolerant brand of Islam is under threat. "But, in the long-term investors will most likely take note of how the Jakarta court came to its decision under massive public pressure", Reza said.

Thousands of police were deployed in the capital in case clashes broke out, but there was no immediate sign of any violence after the court's verdict.

Tuesday's ruling was a surprising outcome as prosecutors had requested a one-year jail term suspended for two years.

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Amnesty International calls on the Indonesian authorities to repeal blasphemy laws, including Articles 156 and 156 (a) of the Criminal Code that have been used to prosecute and imprison people may be imprisoned for "defamation" of religion for as long as five years simply because they have peacefully exercised their right to freedom of expression or to freedom of thought, conscience or religion, which are protected under international human rights law.

On 27 September 2016, Ahok reportedly quoted a Qur'anic verse on the campaign trail while addressing concerns that his political opponents may use the verse to discourage people from voting for him as a non-Muslim.

An edited version of his speech went viral online, sparking outrage.

Purnama denied wrongdoing, though he apologized for the comments made to residents in an outlying Jakarta district.

He lost his bid for re-election in an April run-off - after the most divisive and religiously charged election in recent years - to a Muslim rival, Anies Baswedan.

It was expected Ahok would stay in office until October when he would hand over the capital to Mr Baswedan.

The prosecutor last month called for the blasphemy counts to be dropped in exchange for a lesser charge of "spreading hate", but the judges Tuesday appeared to have ignored that recommendation.

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