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Jakarta: Jailed Governor Drops Appeal – UN Urges His Release

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama was jailed for two years for blasphemy this month for insulting the Koran. 

The Christian and ethnic Chinese Governor announced through his lawyers he would accept the verdict for the “good of the country”  

Lawyers for Purnama earlier filed documents for his appeal to a Jakarta court – but said later that the governor’s family turned up and asked for the appeal not to go ahead. Purnama’s wife Veronica Tan cried as she read out a letter her husband wrote in jail: “I know it’s not easy for you to accept this reality,” he wrote  “It isn’t easy for me either, but I’ve learnt to forgive and accept all of this if it is for the benefit of the nation and the country.”

The United Nations pressed Indonesia on Monday to release Jakarta’s jailed Christian governor and repeal blasphemy laws which they say undermine religious freedom in the Muslim-majority nation.

A group of UN human rights experts urged Indonesia to free the 50-year-old and repeal the blasphemy laws, which critics say have been repeatedly used to target religious minorities in recent years.

Purnama had once been favourite to win last month’s Jakarta election but went on to lose to a Muslim challenger Anies Baswedan following the blasphemy claims.

Purnama’s two-year term was harsher than the suspended sentence the prosecution sought, prompting warnings that Islam is creeping into the politics and judiciary of the secular nation. 

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About Aaron Watson (80 Articles)
Journalist and Photographer for RealNewsOne Twitter: @ajwatson82

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