Indonesia: Ahok in prison

Indonesia - Ahok

In May 2017, the former governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaya Purnama – fondly known as Ahok – was imprisoned for blasphemy in a politically-motivated attack and sentenced to two years in jail.

Ahok, the capital's first Christian and ethnic minority governor since the 1960s, had been arrested during his re-election campaign against a Muslim contender – during which Islamist extremists took to the streets in their hundreds of thousands to protest against him.

Despite still having a strong supporter base, Ahok subsequently lost the election. And just one day later, Ahok’s prosecutors downgraded the blasphemy charges against him, saying he should not have to serve prison time. Yet the judge still issued a harsh two-year sentence against him, and Ahok is now serving his two-year prison sentence.

Incarcerated in a compound near Jakarta, Ahok's sister said the only book he took with him was a Bible. "He loves reading his Bible. He has it with him and he can pray whenever he wants," she said.

Despite initially wishing to appeal the verdict, Ahok dropped the appeal 'for the sake of our people and nation' after protests resulted in violence.

Could you write to Ahok in prison and share encouraging Bible verses with him?

Though he knows English, it would be very encouraging for Ahok if you included some of these words in Bahasa Indonesia (the national language):

  • Tuhan memberkati (God bless you)
  • Tuhan Yesus mengasihimu (Jesus loves you)
  • Kami mendoakanmu (We are praying for you)
  • Tuhan punya rencana indah buatmu (God has beautiful plan for you)
  • Tetaplah berjalan dengan Yesus (Keep walking with Jesus)
  • Terus lakukan hal yang benar (Keep doing what is right)
  • Kami bersamamu (We are with you)
  • Engkau tidak sendiri (You are not alone)
  • Yesus adalah Tuhan! (Jesus is Lord!)

Don’t know where to start? Here are some simple letter-writing guidelines to help you as you write.

Please put all your letters and cards in one envelope and send to Open Doors UK, PO Box 6, Witney, OX29 6WG.

Please note: this letter-writing campaign closes on 30 January 2018.