Jakarta’s incumbent Christian governor has told his blasphemy trial that he has been the victim of a ‘Nazi-like propaganda’ machine, with his political detractors turning lies into truth.
More than four months after Basuki Tjahaja Purnama – commonly referred to as Ahok – first addressed the Jakarta court in an emotional address proclaiming his innocence in December last year, the 50-year-old gave another impassioned defence.
“Just like a Nazi propagandist, a lie which is told over and over again will become truth,” he told the court on Tuesday.
“We heard it over the mosques, over social media, in daily conversation. What’s been suspected has become confirmation.”
Ahok is accused of committing blasphemy during a speech last September in which he hit out at his detractors for using a Koranic verse – Al Maidah 51 – to “fool” people into not voting for a non-Muslim.
An edited video of the speech was later uploaded online, sparking calls by hardline groups to have him jailed for blasphemy.
It was at this time that the fight for governorship over Indonesia’s capital had begun.
He conceded defeat of the governorship last week to former education minister Anies Baswedan.
Criticising the laws under which he has been charged, Ahok said they were unclear and dubious and argued he had been stated as guilty before the trial had even begun.
“I don’t have any intention to be hostile towards or insult anyone and there’s no proof that I expressed or did something hostile or insulted or abused or blasphemed a religion or a group of people,” Ahok added.
“I believe judges will give decision that would uphold the truth.”
The leader of the hardline group the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), Rizieq Shihab, has previously told the trial Ahok had blasphemed during the September 2016 speech as he had implied the Koran was a “a source of lies”.
Shihab argued Muslims did face an “absolute prohibition” on voting for a non-Muslim.
Prosecutors have asked the court to place Ahok under two years probation during which time he would remain on good behaviour or face a year in prison.
The hearing continues.