Jubilee Campaign Netherlands met with the Indonesian ambassador and delivered a petition with 19,973 signatures calling for the release of Basuki ‘Ahok’ Tjahaja Purnama, the former governor of Indonesia’s capital. The petition is addressed directly to Indonesian President Joko Widodo and calls on the president to deploy the immediate release of Ahok and the protection of religious and ethnic minorities in Indonesia. The petition was well received by the Indonesian ambassador, and he promised to personally pass on the petition and discuss the matter with the government in Indonesia.
Ahok who is an ethnic-Chinese Christian was the former governor of Jakarta, Indonesia. Indonesia holds the largest Muslim population in the world. During his race for re-election he was accused of blasphemy. In a speech he referred to a verse in the Quran that warns against having Christian or Jewish allies. He stated that some Muslims were wrongly using this verse to discourage fellow Muslims from voting for Ahok. A edited video of his statement was posted online and went viral. His words were deemed by the Indonesian court as blasphemous.
Ahok lost his re-election and on May 9th was sentenced to two years in prison. Joel Voordewind Parliamentarian of the Netherlands Christian Union party says that the people around Ahok are calling for permanent international pressure to free Ahok. Therefore, on May 20, the Christian Union party, together with Jubilee Campaign, launched the petition “Free Ahok!” Collecting nearly 20,000 signatures, this petition was delivered on July 4th with the following letter: