Indonesian musician faces jail time for anti-Ahok tweet

Ahmad Dhani Prasetyo stands accused of hate attacks against Jakarta's former Christian governor
Indonesian musician faces jail time for anti-Ahok tweet

A photo of Indonesian musician Ahmad Dhani Prasetyo taken during a promotional event in Jakarta on Jan. 6. (Photo by Bahtiar/AFP)

Indonesian prosecutors have sought a two-year jail term for an outspoken musician over allegations he committed hate speech against Jakarta's former Christian governor.

Prosecutors told judges at a Nov. 26 hearing that they are seeking the jail term for musician Ahmad Dhani Prasetyo over allegations he spread hate speech via Twitter targeting imprisoned former governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known as Ahok.

Prasetyo was named a suspect in November 2017 after a police report was filed in April of that year by Jack Boyd Lapian, an Ahok supporter.

When Jakarta's gubernatorial election campaign was ongoing during March 2017, Prasetyo allegedly wrote via Twitter: "Anyone who supports the blasphemer is scum and deserves to be spat at in the face."

Ahok was sentenced to two years in prison after being found guilty of insulting the Quran by a court in May that year.

During the hearing at  South Jakarta District Court, prosecutors not only mentioned Prasetyo's tweet but two other tweets from the same account that referred to Ahok.

Hendarsam Marantoko, a member of Prasetyo's legal team, told ucanews.com that prosecutors must be able to prove two important elements of the alleged crime, namely "the fact that the tweets are real" and "the fact that the tweets contain hate speech."

"They could only prove the first one and ignored the fact that the other two tweets were posted by other individuals on Prasetyo's Twitter account," he said.

Marantoko said other people apart from Prasetyo manage the Twitter account. The use of the term "anyone" does not refer to a certain party, he said.

Marantoko said a plea is being prepared for the next hearing scheduled for mid-December.

The charges against Prasetyo come under Article 28(2) of the 2016 Electronic and Transactions Law, known as the ITE law, which outlaws the spreading of so-called hate speech against ethnic groups, religions and races.

The hearing on Prasetyo's case came two days after Buni Yani, a former university lecturer, was given a 1.5-year prison sentence under the ITE law for uploading an anti-Ahok video to Facebook.

"We respect the Supreme Court's ruling, but we are disappointed that he is sentenced only to 1.5 years in prison," I. Wayan Sudarta, a lawyer who defended Ahok, told ucanews.com.

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