• Jakarta’s Christian governor stands trial for blasphemy


    JAKARTA: Jakarta’s Christian governor choked back tears on Tuesday as he gave an impassioned defense against charges of blasphemy, telling an Indonesian court he never intended to offend his Muslim countrymen. Basuki Tjahaja Purnama — the first Christian to govern the capital in more than 50 years — is standing trial accused of insulting the Koran, an offence that carries a five-year jail term. The high-profile case has gripped national attention, and stoked fears of growing intolerance towards minorities in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation. The governor has apologized for his controversial remarks, which angered Muslims across Indonesia and drew hundreds of thousands to the streets of Jakarta in protests larger than any seen in many years. Facing court for the first time, the governor gave an emotionally charged defence against the charges, pausing several times to compose himself as he maintained his innocence. “I know I have to respect the holy verses of the Koran. I do not understand how I can be said to have offended Islam,” Purnama said, occasionally dabbing his eyes with a handkerchief.



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