Man who uploaded Ahok video gets 11/2 years' jail

JAKARTA • Former Indonesian private university lecturer Buni Yani has been sentenced to 11/2 years in jail, after being found guilty of spreading hate speech by a Bandung court yesterday.

The case is closely watched as his act contributed to the May jailing of former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama for blasphemy against Islam.

The judges said Buni breached the clauses of the country's information and electronic transaction laws, which lay out how information could be spread and used to ensure the protection of citizens' rights.

"It has been proven. The defendant is guilty as charged," presiding judge M. Saptono told the court room.

The sentence handed down is lower than the two years previously demanded by the prosecutors.

Buni's lawyer Aldwin Rahadian said he will appeal against the verdict.

Buni was accused of editing and later uploading online a video featuring a speech by Basuki in September last year, in which he referred to a verse from Islam's holy book, the Quran.

Prosecutors said that Buni not only uploaded the video but also incorrectly transcribed the former governor's speech regarding a Quranic verse, which led to a public outcry.

A vital part of the statement by Basuki, who is widely known as Ahok, was edited out of the video, creating the perception that his remarks were aimed at the Islamic holy book, rather than at opponents who misquoted Quranic verses to support their political agenda.

While on a work trip, Basuki told constituents that they should not be misled by his political opponents who urged Muslims to reject a non-Muslim leader.

Basuki is a Christian.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 15, 2017, with the headline 'Man who uploaded Ahok video gets 11/2 years' jail'. Subscribe