Jakarta's Christian Governor Sentenced To 2 Years For Blasphemy : The Two-Way The Indonesian court's decision has cheered Muslim conservatives and crushed the hopes of advocates of a more pluralistic and tolerant path for their nation.

Jakarta's Christian Governor Sentenced To 2 Years For Blasphemy

Jakarta Gov. Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama (center) talks with his lawyers after his sentencing hearing Tuesday in Indonesia's capital city. Bay Ismoyo/AP hide caption

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Bay Ismoyo/AP

Jakarta Gov. Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama (center) talks with his lawyers after his sentencing hearing Tuesday in Indonesia's capital city.

Bay Ismoyo/AP

A court in Indonesia has sentenced the capital's Christian governor to two years in prison for blasphemy against Islam, in a decision that has cheered Muslim conservatives and crushed the hopes of advocates of a more pluralistic and tolerant path for their nation.

Jakarta Gov. Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, nicknamed "Ahok", had not been expected to do time in jail, as prosecutors had sought only a suspended sentence.

But in Indonesia, few accused of blasphemy walk free. Reuters reports that Ahok was taken to a prison in east Jakarta where, according to his lawyer Tommy Sihotang, he would remain "despite his appeal process unless a higher court suspended it."

A court in Indonesia has sentenced the capital's Christian governor to two years in prison for blasphemy against Islam, in a decision that has cheered Muslim conservatives and crushed the hopes of advocates of a more pluralistic and tolerant path for their nation.

"This case is not about Ahok," says Andreas Harsono, a Jakarta-based researcher for Human Rights Watch. "This case is about the future of Indonesia. This is a sad day for equality among citizens in Indonesia."

Jakarta Gov. Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, nicknamed Ahok, was not expected to do time in jail, as prosecutors had only sought a suspended sentence.

The blasphemy charges relate to comments Ahok made last September. He told a group of fishermen that politicians who tell them that the Quran forbids voting for non-Muslims are lying to them.

But in Indonesia, few accused of blasphemy walk free.

"As governor, as a public officer," Judge Abdul Rosyad said Tuesday "the defendant should have known that religion is a sensitive issue so he should have avoided talking about religion."

"This case is not about Ahok," says Andreas Harsono, a Jakarta-based researcher for Human Rights Watch. "This case is about the future of Indonesia. This is a sad day for equality among citizens in Indonesia."

Ahok was widely praised for his work in tackling Jakarta's snarled traffic and chronic urban flooding, since replacing his predecessor, now-President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo in 2014.

The blasphemy charges relate to comments Ahok made last September. He told a group of fishermen that politicians who tell them that the Quran forbids voting for non-Muslims are lying to them.