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2-year probation sought for Jakarta governor

Indonesian prosecutors on Thursday sought a two years' probation for Jakarta's Christian Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama for alleged blasphemy.

The prosecutors' announcement came a day after Purnama conceded defeat in Jakarta's Governor elections amid religious tensions, Efe news reported.

He has been facing blasphemy charges over comments he made about the Quran while campaigning last September.

In court on Thursday, prosecutors called for the court to sentence the Governor to two years of probation and to be jailed for one year if he re-offends during that time, Indonesia's Republika news portal reported.

Ahok was facing a maximum jail term of five years for violating Article 156 of the penal code, which covers hostility and contempt against religion.

More than 100 hardline Muslim protesters gathered outside the courtroom on Thursday, where they demanded a heavier sentence.

Purnama pleaded not guilty during the pre-trial investigation, alleging that the video in which he was seen making the controversial comments was doctored, but apologised anyway.

The case was raised by Islamist radicals led by the Islamic Defenders Front organisation, who opposed a non-Muslim Governor in Jakarta and organised several protests against him.

The Islamist opposition started in 2014 when Purnama became the Governor of Jakarta, but intensified with the blasphemy case and protests supported by his political rivals.

--IANS

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