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Judges Rule Jakarta Governor Blasphemy Trial Closed to Media

  • Associated Press

FILE - Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, popularly known as "Ahok", sits on the defendant's chair during his trial at the North Jakarta District Court in Jakarta, Indonesia, Dec. 13, 2016.

An Indonesian court has ruled that witness testimony will be closed to the media in the blasphemy trial of the capital's minority Christian governor.

Gov. Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama is charged with insulting Islam and desecrating the Quran by using one of its verses to boost his chances of winning re-election. The 50-year-old Ahok is seeking a second term as Jakarta's governor in elections due in February.

A five-judge panel ruled Tuesday that journalists will not be allowed to cover witness testimony and that spectators can't bring cellphones inside the courtroom. Witness testimony began shortly after the decision.

Ahok's lawyer Trimoelja Soerjadi said the ruling was aimed at protecting the witnesses given the huge attention the trial has received in the world's most populous Muslim nation.

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