Indonesian police warn of treason

Indonesian police have warned Muslims angry about the government’s handling of blasphemy accusations against Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama not to go ahead with planned rallies.

National police chief Tito Karnavian said those taking part in protests planned for Friday and December 2 could face criminal charges including treason.

Muslim groups are demanding Basuki be detained for blasphemy over remarks about the Koran.

Basuki, a Christian and ethnic Chinese in the predominantly Muslim country, has been named a suspect in the blasphemy case, but remains free to campaign for his bid for another term.

“There are plots by some groups to enter the House of Representatives [complex) and occupy it,” Tito said, referring to the rally planned for Friday.

“This is illegal, and if it’s intended to overthrow the government, it’s treason,” he said.

He also warned that a rally planned for December 2 during which protesters planned to occupy the city’s main streets would be illegal because it would disrupt public order.

Tensions have risen in Jakarta after more than 100,000 Muslims rallied earlier in November demanding the prosecution of Basuki.

The blasphemy allegations stem from remarks made by Basuki in September, when he said his opponents in next year’s gubernatorial election had used a verse from the Koran to deceive voters.

Many Muslims interpret the text in question as prohibiting them from electing non-Muslims as their leaders, while some Muslims disagree that Basuki’s remarks amounted to blasphemy.

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