A court in Indonesia has ruled on Tuesday (27 December) to proceed with the controversial blasphemy trial of Jakarta's Christian governor Basuki Tjahaja "Ahok" Purnama, who is accused of insulting the Islamic holy book of Quran.
A five-judge panel rejected defence arguments to annul the case after Purnama's lawyers claimed the case had inaccuracies and violated an ethnic Chinese politician's human rights.
"The exception by the defendant will be considered and decided by the court after examination of all evidence. The defendant's exception is not accepted," Reuters cited Judge Abdul Rosyad as saying.
The defence can appeal to a higher court if they want to protest against the decision to continue with the case, the presiding judge on the panel, Dwiyarso Budi Santiarto said.
It has been reported that Purnama, a Christian man of Chinese descent who is also known by his Chinese name Ahok, might consider doing so.
The next round of hearings will resume on 3 January 2017 at the North Jakarta District Court. But it will later be moved to southern Jakarta after the Supreme Court granted the request of prosecutors for a bigger courtroom for security reasons.
It was reported earlier this month that the investigators and religious experts were divided whether or not to prosecute the governor. However, the case proceeded on 13 December as the government was under political pressure.
The 50-year-old was charged for desecrating the Quran by reciting one of its verses during his campaign in September to boost his chances of winning re-election that is due in February 2017. The incident attracted severe criticism with hundreds of thousands of Muslim hardliners taking to the streets of Jakarta over the past few weeks demanding his resignation from office and subsequent arrest.
If Purnama is found guilty, he could face a jail term of up to five years.