Basuki files for divorce from wife of 20 years

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama and his wife Veronica Tan voting during the Jakarta governor election last year. He filed for divorce last Friday.
Basuki Tjahaja Purnama and his wife Veronica Tan voting during the Jakarta governor election last year. He filed for divorce last Friday.PHOTO: REUTERS

Jailed former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama has filed for divorce from his wife of 20 years, according to local media yesterday.

Reports from news websites Kompas.com and Detik.com cite a court official and one of Basuki's lawyers, who confirmed rumours over the weekend that Basuki and his wife Veronica Tan were about to separate.

Basuki, better known by his Chinese nickname Ahok, and Madam Tan have been married since 1997.

They have three children: Nicholas Sean, 19; Nathania, 16; and Daud Albeenner, 11.

"On Friday, the divorce filing was submitted at 2.30pm, just before the court administration office closed," Mr Tarmuzi, an administration officer at the North Jakarta district court, told the Jakarta-based news portal Detik.com.

A photo of Basuki's divorce papers dated Jan 5 began circulating over the weekend via WhatsApp.

The document was signed by two of Basuki's lawyers - Fifi Lety Indra who is also his sister, and Josefina Agatha Syukur. It states that Basuki also seeks custody of the children.

Kompas.com said the divorce filing was confirmed to be authentic by Ms Syukur.

"It's true that Pak Ahok has filed for divorce from Ibu Veronica," she was quoted as saying.

She declined to comment on the reason behind the divorce petition, saying it was a personal matter.

The news has come as a shock to many, since the couple continued to display what appeared to be a warm relationship. Last Dec 4, a photo of Madam Tan was posted on Basuki's official Instagram account, along with a short message to wish her a happy birthday.

In May last year, the politician was sentenced to two years in jail for blasphemy. The sentence was handed down weeks after he lost the Jakarta gubernatorial election.

Basuki was deputy governor of Jakarta before he took over as governor in 2014, after his former running mate Joko Widodo was elected Indonesia's President.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 09, 2018, with the headline 'Basuki files for divorce from wife of 20 years'. Print Edition | Subscribe