Jakarta’s Christian governor appeals blasphemy conviction


JAKARTA: Jakarta’s jailed Christian governor Monday appealed his conviction for blaspheming Islam, his legal team said, as the United Nations stepped up pressure on Indonesia to overturn the controversial sentence. Basuki Tjahaja Purnama was jailed for two years earlier this month for insulting the Koran, a shock decision that has undermined a reputation for religious tolerance in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country. Lawyers for Purnama filed the appeal to the High Court in Jakarta. They believe the judges’ decision did not properly take into account testimony from defense witnesses, lawyer Ronny Talapessy told Agence France-Presse. The lawyers also urged the court to release Purnama, Jakarta’s first non-Muslim governor for half a century and its first ethnic Chinese leader, on bail while his appeal is ongoing. The sentence was widely criticized as too harsh after prosecutors had demanded that he be given just two years’ probation.



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