After receiving 3 months and 15 days in remissions for good behaviour, former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, commonly known as “Ahok”, has been released early from prison.
Ahok’s release was confirmed by his son, Nicholas Sean Purnama, via an Instagram post: “He’s back. My dad’s a free man! Thank you everyone for the support.”
Jailed in May 2017 for blasphemy against Islam, charges which Ahok denies and which carry a sentence of up to 5 years, his release comes as Indonesia readies for the Indonesian presidential election on 17 April, in which Ahok’s long-time ally President Joko Widodo seeks a second term.
Ahok’s detention and conviction while running for re-election as an ethnic-Chinese Christian governor had been seen as a warning sign of the rise of political Islam in Indonesia, a Muslim-majority country which seeks to be pluralist, secular and moderate.
While he is not expected to return to politics immediately, Ahok while writing from prison advised his supporters against abandoning politics and apologised for his words that may have “hurt the feelings of all of you and your family.”
Publicly acknowledging his Christian faith, Ahok has also written, “I am very grateful to God, the creator of heaven and earth, for being imprisoned. If I were re-elected in the gubernatorial election, I would have been a man who controlled the City Hall, but in here I learned to control myself forever.”
Without doubt, Ahok’s prosecution changed Indonesia and resulted in lasting political and social change. His policies, which included setting minimum wages, seeking free school education and healthcare, reducing traffic congestion and tackling government corruption, will not be forgotten.
It appears that Ahok’s new start will include remarriage. His future wife is 21-year-old former policewoman Puput Nastiti Devi, who has been by his side since his release.
HOME GROUP PRAYER
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths,” Proverb 3:5–6 NKJV.
We thank you for the good news from Indonesia, that Ahok has been released from prison early.
We thank you that you have done a great work in him during his imprisonment and that he is now able and willing to testify publicly of the greater self-control he learnt while in prison.
We thank you, LORD, that the changes which Ahok made while serving as governor are recognised across the land and we pray that you will now bring to full harvest the good seeds he planted in your name.
O LORD, we also ask that you continue to use Ahok and to raise other Christians in Indonesia to public leadership roles, in order to bring that land to belief in you and to change Indonesia from a goat nation to a sheep nation.
We pray also, LORD, that we learn from the works of Ahok and make a difference for your kingdom’s expansion in our own communities and countries. Let his testimony be an edification and inspiration for us too.
In the mighty name of Christ Jesus, we pray. Amen and amen and amen.
Materials used by kind permission of the original author.