Rights groups in Indonesia have long accused the government of using the country's 1969 blasphemy law to persecute religious minorities, but for the first time the law is being used against a high-ranking politician.

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, better known by his nickname Ahok, has denied at the start of his blasphemy trial that he intended to insult the Quran during a campaign speech, as outside the court rival rallies were staged.

He faces five years in jail if convicted.

The trial has raised questions about the fairness of the blasphemy law and religious freedom in the world's largest Muslim nation.

Is the court case politically motivated? And what does it mean for Indonesian cultural equality?

Presenter: Hashem Ahelbarra


Zain Adnan - Lawyer and Fellow at the University of New Hampshire.

Phelim Kine - Human Rights Watch.

Charlotte Setijadi - Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

Source: Al Jazeera