Declaration of Solidarity with Indonesia’s Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok)
Resolution proposed by Democratic Action Party Socialist Youth
Amended and approved by organizations in the Political Management Training for Young Progressives
We, young progressive leaders from the ASEAN, condemn the trial, sentencing, and arrest of Jakarta, Indonesia’s former governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama or more popularly known as Ahok. We assert the following:
• That his controversial statement on politicians’ misuse of Qu’ran to gain votes falls within his Constitutional right to freedom of expression;
• That due process of law was not followed during his trial when judges ignored the prosecutors’ decision to drop blasphemy charges against him and when said judges decided to hear testimonies from biased hard-line religious experts. This miscarriage of justice is dangerous and can set a bad precedent for future cases.
• That a Blasphemy Law has no place in a modern society, and that democracy thrives when citizens are free to speak their mind. Democracy, in fact, demands discourse and dissent.
Indonesia is a modern democratic society that prides itself for moderation, pluralism, and tolerance. As the most populous Muslim-majority country, it is a welcome proof that Islam is compatible with democracy. The decision to imprison Ahok is a setback to efforts to build a more equal society. It also affects other countries in the region with similar issues, since the fight for freedom and justice knows no country or region We, therefore, demand the following:
• We demand for the immediate release of Ahok from prison. Jakarta Governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat has proposed a suspension of detention against Ahok as regulated in the Law of Criminal Procedure. In his request, Djarot has guaranteed Ahok. Ahok will neither contest any evidence nor flee. Therefore there is no reason for the Judges of the Jakarta High Court who prosecuted this case to deny his request. In this matter, Ahok has a right to a suspended detention. Other than that, we also call for the end of efforts to intimidate Ahok and his family.
• We call for the repeal of the Indonesia’s Blasphemy Law. Indonesian institutions must respect the right of Indonesians to express, dissent, and seek redress of grievances regardless of class, religion, and ethnicity.
• We call on the Indonesian government to resist all forms of populism and religious fundamentalism. It must promote robust discourse and debate. It must also initiate programs that foster acceptance and diversity.
We offer our support to our Indonesian comrades fighting for a freer society. The Resistance continues. We, the progressive youth leaders of the ASEAN, are one in the struggle of Indonesians for social justice, human rights, and equality.