Jakarta – The Supreme Court has made assurances that the verdict in the trial of Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama on blasphemy charges, set to be handed down on May 9, will be free from any outside interference.
"We will watch the trial without affecting the judges' independence," said Supreme Court spokesman Ridwan Mansyur during a press conference on Friday after a meeting with participants of an anti-Ahok rally.
The protest delegation consisted of 11 members of the National Movement to Safeguard the Indonesian Ulema Council's Fatwa (GNPF-Mui), including its deputy chairman and spokesperson. The Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) chairman, Shobri Lubis, was also in the meeting.
Ridwan added that the rally would not affect the judges' independence during the determination of the verdict as "the judges have been trained to be independent."
The GNPF-MUI protestors demanded the Supreme Court ensure the judges sentence Ahok to the maximum five-year sentence, even though the prosecutors themselves admitted they could not prove he was guilty of blasphemy.
GNPF-MUI spokesman Kapitra Ampera said the organization would decide whether the forthcoming verdict could be considered fair after the hearing on Tuesday. "We have some normative and legal indicators. We will discuss the verdict based on those indicators."
Hours earlier, GNPF-MUI chairman Bahtiar Nasir asked protesters to respect whatever verdict the court brings down on May 9. (kuk)