Governor convicted of blasphemy freed from Indonesian prison

By Stephen Wright and Niniek Karmini | Associated Press

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A polarizing Christian politician whose campaign comments ignited the largest protests in years in Muslim-majority Indonesia was freed Thursday after serving nearly two years in prison for blasphemy.

Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, the former governor of Jakarta, left a paramilitary police prison outside the capital early Thursday with members of his family, said his spokesman Sakti Budiono, avoiding waiting supporters and media.

In 2016, Purnama made lighthearted campaign-trail comments that voters shouldn’t heed his detractors who said the Quran prohibits Muslims from being led by Christians. Hard-liners seized on the remarks as blasphemy, triggering protests that brought hundreds of thousands of white-robed Muslims to the center of Jakarta.

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