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Jakarta’s former governor, known as Ahok, who was sentenced last year to two years in jail for blasphemy against Islam, is to be released from prison next month, four months ahead of schedule.

The ethnic Chinese Christian, whose real name is Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, was due to be released in May but has been granted early release – scheduled for 24 January – for good behaviour, according to Sri Puguh Budi Utami, Director General for Prison Affairs.

Ahok had refused parole in July as he hoped for early release after serving almost two-thirds of his sentence.

Ahok, the first Christian and ethnic Chinese to govern Indonesia’s capital since the 1960s, was charged with blasphemy in December 2016 and sentenced to two years imprisonment after accusing his political opponents of using Koranic verses to dissuade Muslims from voting for him in his bid for re-election as Jakarta governor.

His sentence received widespread condemnation globally as politicians, academics and rights groups expressed their concerns about the growing threat to religious pluralism in Indonesia.

Sources: Asia News, World Watch Monitor

  • Thank the Lord for Ahok’s faithfulness; pray the scheduled early release will be realised.
  • Ask the Lord to help ensure Ahok’s safety as he serves out the remaining time in prison.
  • Pray the Lord will be glorified, through Ahok, in prison.

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