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Christian Governor of Jakarta named as blasphemy suspect

by Aaron James

Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama cannot leave the country while the investigation is under way, officers said.

"After long discussions, we reached a decision that the case should be tried in an open court," said National Police chief detective Ari Dono.

The Islamic Defenders Front, a group which wants to impose Shariah law, began demanding Ahok's arrest after a video circulated online in which he joked to an audience about a passage in the Koran that could be interpreted as prohibiting Muslims from accepting non-Muslims as leaders.

The governor has apologised for the comment.

Earlier this month the capital Jakarta was rocked by a protest by conservative Muslims against the governor.

One person died and dozens were injured in rioting. More protests have been threatened if Ahok is not arrested.

Blasphemy is a criminal offence in Indonesia, where 90 per cent of people are Muslims.

Amnesty International documented 106 convictions between 2004 and 2014, with some individuals imprisoned for up to five years.

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