Basuki Tjahaja Purnama with supporters after the first round of the Jakarta governor election on Feb 15, 2017. (Photo by ucanews.com/Ryan Dagur)
The Christian former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known as Ahok, who was jailed for blasphemy in 2017, has filed a divorce lawsuit against his wife Veronica Tan over an alleged affair with another man.
The case, now viral on social media, shocked his supporters nationwide.
Ahok was last year sentenced to two-years’ imprisonment for blasphemy after the court found that he stated there was no Islamic scripture requiring Muslims to vote for fellow Muslims to lead them.
His political rival, Anies Baswedan, won the election for the position of Jakarta’s governor, after the controversy erupted but ahead of Ahok being charged and subsequently convicted
Josefina Agatha Syukur, Ahok's lawyer, confirmed that the divorce lawsuit was filed Jan. 5 in the North Jakarta District Court.
"In addition to suing for divorce, he also filed custody for their three children," Syukur told ucanews.com.
“Actually, Ahok is very ready to accept the consequences of his decision”.
A source close to Ahok told ucanews.com that the former governor asked his wife to stop seeing the man she was allegedly involved with, identified only as a businessman.
However, the mediation process failed and Ahok chose to pursue legal action.
Their children already knew about the case and might testify in court, the source said.
The news came as a shock, especially given that previously there had been no apparent signs of trouble between Ahok and his wife, even after he was sent to jail.
His wife has been known for keeping a low personal profile.
Lucius Karus, a political analyst, said that the case might well have a serious negative impact on Ahok’s career as a politician, as it could be seen by supporters as a stain on his image.
Still, according to Indonesia's legal system, ex-convicts are still eligible to stand for elected office provided they have not been convicted over drugs or child sexual abuse.
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