• Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama arrives to a polling station during the second round of regional elections in Jakarta, Indonesia, 19 April 2017. (EPA)
Jakarta's incumbent governor has launched his last impassioned defence before an Indonesian court is set to hand down their verdict over charges of blasphemy.
Source:
AAP
25 Apr - 4:16 PM 

Jakarta's incumbent Christian governor has called for blasphemy charges against him to be dropped, saying his detractors have waged a Nazi-like propaganda war against him.

A week after conceding defeat in the battle for governorship of Indonesia's capital, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama - commonly referred to as Ahok - launched his last impassioned defence at his trial for blasphemy, saying he had fallen victim to a campaign of "lies".

"Just like a Nazi propagandist, a lie which is told over and over again will become truth," he told the court on Tuesday.

"We heard it over the mosques, over social media, in daily conversation. What's been suspected has become confirmation."

Ahok has been on trial for blasphemy since last December following a speech he made in September in which he criticised his detractors for using a Koranic verse - Al Maidah 51 - to "fool" people into not voting for a non-Muslim.

An edited video of the speech was later uploaded online, sparking calls by hardline groups to have him jailed for blasphemy.

It was at this time that the political battle for Indonesia's capital had started.

Describing the laws under which he was charged as dubious, Ahok said on Tuesday he had been cast as guilty before the trial had even begun.

One of Ahok's main detractors, the leader of the hardline group the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), Rizieq Shihab, has previously told the court the governor had blasphemed as he had implied the Koran was "a source of lies".

Shihab argued Muslims did face an "absolute prohibition" on voting for a non-Muslim.

But one of Ahok's lawyers, Wayan Sudirta said on Tuesday there was "no proof" that Muslim people "as a whole" felt insulted by the comments. Many, he argued, did not feel there was anything wrong with what Ahok said.

Sirra Prayuna - who is also representing Ahok - asked the court to find him not guilty of both alternative counts of blasphemy and restore "his rights and dignity".

In the wake of Ahok's electoral defeat, prosecutors asked for him to be found guilty of the lesser charge of blasphemy, which is without intent.

They asked for him to be sentenced to two years probation with one year in jail in the event he committed another offence.

The lesser charge carries with it a maximum penalty of four years.

The court is expected to hand down their decision on May 9.