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President orders Ahok’s religious blasphemy case exposed to public

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA =- President Joko Widodo has ordered the results of investigations into the alleged case of blasphemy against Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama be exposed to the public, Indonesia Police chief General Tito Karnavian said. “He (the President) has ordered me to conduct an investigation into the alleged case of blasphemy involving Basuki Tjahaja Purnama quickly and transparently,” he stated at a press conference.

At the impromptu conference, Tito revealed he had received an order directly from the President that the results of the investigation be later opened to the public. “The President ordered opening them to the media,” he added.

He explained that by putting all the facts concerning the case in public and exposing them on live television, it is hoped the people will know that the investigation was being conducted in a transparent manner. Tito disclosed that the police would formally summon Basuki Tjahaja Purnama on Monday for questioning him.

He also explained what the President meant by dealing the case “quickly and transparently.” He reminded that a series of swift actions had been taken from October 6 onwards when the case was first reported, until October 21. A total of 11 police reports were dealt with.

Despite regulations that state the police can postpone investigations in a case involving candidates who have registered for elections, the investigation has been continuing, he noted. “I have given an order as per the discretionary powers vested in me to the head of the crime investigation department to carry out investigations in line with the people’s demand,” he reiterated.

He informed that the police had already interviewed 22 people until Saturday, including three witnesses who had lodged the complaints. He also pointed out that Basuki Tjahaja Purnama had approached the police on his own initiative to provide clarification.

He also explained that the police have questioned at least 10 experts as witnesses, including those whose names were submitted by the person who reported the incident. He assured that if Basuki Tjahaja Purnama is later confirmed to have committed a blasphemy, he would be named as a suspect but if the charge is not proven, the case will be closed.

The entire proceedings will be conducted publicly and will be covered live by the media so that people can monitor everything. Hundreds of thousands of Moslems participated in a demonstration organized by several Islamic organizations on Friday.
The demonstration went off peacefully until the 6pm deadline but rioting flared up after that. Some demonstrators who refused to disperse attacked the police by throwing stones, pieces of wood and bottles and the security forces responded with tear gas.

President Joko Widodo has expressed his regret over the clash after the demonstrators who had gathered in front of the Merdeka Palace here on Friday, began dispersing at around 7:00 pm local time. “We deplore the incident that occurred after the Isha (evening prayers) when demonstrators who should have dispersed turned violent. We saw that the situation was exploited by certain political actors,” stressed Jokowi at a press conference at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta early Saturday.

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