Indonesia courts jails Jakarta's Christian governor for blasphemy against Islam

Ahok was detained immediately after the verdict and taken to Cipinang detention facility in East Jakarta.

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Calls for Basuki Tjahaja Purnama - commonly referred to as Ahok - to be jailed began previous year after an edited version of a speech he made in September 2016 was uploaded on the internet.

"Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok) was found legally guilty of violating criminal law of blasphemy", Chief Judge Dwiarso Budi Santiarto said during the verdict at the Agriculture Ministry Hall in Ragunan, South Jakarta.

At least several thousand white-robed protesters marched after Friday prayers at Istiqlal Mosque in central Jakarta until reaching the nearby Supreme Court building.

Hardline Islamist groups had called for the maximum penalty possible over comments by Purnama that they said were insulting to the Islamic holy book, the Koran.

Around 15,000 security personnel from the police and military were providing security at the scene, with riot police and armoured vehicles separating the groups.

A supporter of Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama dances as her reflection is seen on the mirror of a truck parked outside the court where his sentencing hearing is held in Jakarta, Indonesia, Tuesday, May 9, 2017. Some hugged each other.

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"The verdict shows that Jokowi isn't intervening to save his allies and will uphold the legitimacy of the legal process", said Siti Zuhro, a professor of domestic politics at Indonesian Institute of Sciences in Jakarta. But a short distance away, the atmosphere among the governor's critics - a coalition of Islamic groups - was one of anger.

The battle is far from over. It is unclear whether he would be released once the appeal is underway. They have instead sentenced him to two years in jail.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo called on all parties to respect the court's decision.

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, popularly known as "Ahok", made an off-the-cuff comment about a verse in the Koran being used against him.

Purnama, who was the first ever ethnic Chinese Christian to lead Jakarta, saw his polling numbers drop considerably following the blasphemy accusations. This was viewed as a significant development for religious minority groups, especially given the violent anti-Chinese riots that occurred in 1998.

Before the blasphemy allegations, he had been widely hailed as a straight-talking politician with a strong anti-corruption stance.

It was at this time that the political battle for Indonesia's capital had started - a fight Ahok lost last month to former education minister Anies Baswedan.

Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim country.

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