TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Blasphemy defendant Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama’s defense lawyer Humphrey Djemat said that his team will report the witnesses in blasphemy trial over alleged false testimony. “We will report [the witnesses] to police because most of their testimony are false and slanderous,” Humphrey said yesterday.
In blasphemy trial held at the Agriculture Ministry building yesterday, public prosecutors brought four witnesses: Pedri Kasman, Willyuddin Abdul Rasyid Dhani, Muhammad Burhanuddi and Irena Handono. Meanwhile, witness Ibnu Baskoro failed to appear.
The first to appear in court was Pedri Kasman, an official of Muslim organization Pemuda Muhammadiyah. He reported Ahok on behalf of Angkatan Muda Muhammadiyah which comprises of three organizations: youths, students and college students of Muhammadiyah.
Pedri testified before the court that he reported Ahok to police after receiving an instruction from Muhammadiyah central executive board chairman Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak. The report relates to a video showing Ahok’s remarks on surah al-Maida of the Quran in the Seribu Islands on September last year, which was deemed blasphemous. Pedri said that he first saw Ahok’s speech video in a WhatsApp group. “I learned that Ahok had blasphemed Islam. the chairman later assigned me to report Ahok [to police],” he said.
According to Humphrey, the witness did not objectively assess Ahok’s remarks made on the Seribu Islands. “Meaning that the he was told by Dahnil to make a report to police,” Humphrey said. He accused the witness of having personal issues with Ahok.
Pedri reacted by explaining that the report was made following a joint decision. “Every organization has a leader. A decision made [by the leader] becomes a joint decision,” he said. He said that he felt intimidated by Ahok’s defense lawyer’s statements, adding that he planned to report him to police.
Ahok’s defense lawyer also threatened to report second witness Irena Handono to police. Humphrey said that Irena had given false testimony by saying that Governor Ahok had demolished a lot of mosques.
Irene said before the court that Ahok had denied Muslims from holding prayers in the National Monument (Monas) area, while allowing Easter celebration in the same place. She also claimed that Ahok had banned students from wearing religious attributes, such as veils, on Fridays. All of Irene’s statements were rebuffed by Ahok. “They are all slander,” Humphrey said.
Ahok said that he objected to all the testimony. According to Ahok, he had never demolished any mosque nor banned students from wearing veils. “[Students] are free to use veils at school. I have also built mosques. On [Easter celebration] in Monas, it was a state event,” Ahok said.
Irene insisted that all of her statements were true. She had also let Ahok’s defense lawyers to report her to police. “We’ll see,” she said.
Humphrey said that he will soon report the witnesses to Jakarta Metro Police Department. He had asked for the panel of judges’ permission to name Irena as a witness who has allegedly giving false testimony. Chief justice Dwiarso Budi Santiarto said he would consider the request.
DEVY ERNIS | LARISSA HUDA