In an emotional press conference on Tuesday, May 23, the wife of jailed former Jakarta governor Basuki ‘Ahok’ Tjahaja Purnama explained the decision to drop a plan to appeal a controversial blasphemy sentence.
Ahok was jailed for two years earlier this month in a verdict which shocked his legal team and prosecutors alike. Both legal teams indicated they would appeal, but an announcement Monday evening saw Ahok accept his fate.
Ahok’s wife, Veronica Tan, read a statement written by the former governor from his jail cell.
“To all of my volunteers and supporters, to all those who have undertaken the democratic process, wherever they may be.
I have been thinking a lot about what has happened to me. I want to thank my brothers and sisters who continue to support me in prayer, sending food, greeting cards, letters, books, even by gathering candles.
I know it’s not easy for you to accept this fact, nor is it for me. But I have learned to forgive and accept all this, for the good of our country and our nation,” the statement said.
Ahok’s statement referred heavily to his Christian faith, a major factor in his downfall.
“Let us show that we believe God is sovereign and in control of every nation’s history. We show that we are people who believe in God Almighty who loves his people, who will surely uphold truth and justice for all people.
“Gusti Ora Sare (God Never Sleeps). I place my hope in the Lord now and always, Psalm 131, verse 3. As for my faith, I say The Lord will work out his plan for my life, Psalm 138 verse 8a.”
An appeal has been lodged by prosecutors, who originally sought a suspended sentence, with so far no indication the family of Ahok have called for that to be withdrawn.
The blasphemy case has divided the capital city along ethnic and religious fractures, particularly hardline Islamic groups who were the most vocal in calling for Ahok’s jailing.
“The LRT must be utilized optimally by local people and government as a mass transportation which can accommodate high mobility,” Sumadi said.