June 9, 2017

INDONESIA: Indonesian Police Have Named A Controversial Hardline Muslim Preacher As A Suspect In A Pornography Case. He's Hiding In Saudi Arabia. How Appropriate.

BBC News, UK
written by Staff
Tuesday May 30, 2017

Indonesian police have named a controversial hardline Muslim preacher as a suspect in a pornography case.

Rizieq Shihab is accused of exchanging graphic messages and nude pictures in text conversations with a woman.

The cleric, who is currently in Saudi Arabia, has denied the accusations.

Mr Rizieq heads the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), which led mass protests against Jakarta's former governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama who was jailed for blasphemy last month.

Known for his fiery rhetoric, Mr Rizieq has been jailed twice for violence and disrupting public order.

In this latest case, Mr Rizieq is accused of violating Indonesia's strict anti-pornography laws by transmitting pornography to activist Firza Husein, who has also been named as a suspect.

Screenshots of what appeared to be text and picture messages between the two of them began circulating online earlier this year.

Analysis: Ging Ginanjar, BBC Indonesia

It's being seen by many as the height of hypocrisy. This is a man whose group's core battleground has been against sexual promiscuity, prostitution and alcohol.

His group campaigned for the very laws that their leader is now being charged under, the controversial anti-pornography laws.

To his supporters, Rizieq Shihab is a hero who embodies the true face of Islam. Now he is being charged with transmitting pornographic content with a woman who is not his wife.

Some legal experts have questioned why the police are pursuing this particular case. He faces six other charges including defaming the country's founding principles and first president, and blasphemy against Catholicism for questioning whether Jesus was really the son of God.

Police have repeatedly summoned Mr Rizieq for questioning since April, but he has yet to report to them. The preacher has been in Saudi Arabia with his family since late April.

An FPI spokesman told Reuters that the legal complaints were "unfounded" and "engineered to criminalise" clerics.

Mr Rizieq's lawyer has also said the allegations were fabricated by supporters of Mr Purnama, also known as Ahok.

Mr Rizieq is known to be a vocal opponent of Mr Purnama.

He and the FPI campaigned for months last year against Mr Purnama, a Christian and ethnic Chinese, claiming that he could not lead Muslims.

When Mr Purnama addressed these claims in a speech while campaigning for Jakarta's mayoral election, he was accused of insulting Islam, prompting even larger protests.

He was subsequently tried and found guilty of blasphemy.

The Jakarta Post, Indonesia
Rizieq Shihab named suspect in pornography case while abroad
written by Staff
Monday May 29, 2017

The Jakarta Police named Islam Defenders Front (FPI) leader and firebrand cleric Rizieq Shihab a suspect in a pornography case on Monday.

Rizieq was named a suspect without having undergone police questioning under his previous capacity as a witness as he had failed to answer police summons twice in April and May.

“At 12 a.m. today [Monday], investigators of Jakarta Police’s special crimes unit increased Rizieq’s status from witness to suspect,” said Jakarta Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Argo Yuwono.

Argo said investigators had gathered adequate evidence to name Rizieq a suspect. “He will be charged under articles 4, 6 and 8 of the 2008 Pornography Law,” he said.

Meanwhile, Rizieq’s lawyer, Sugito Atmo Pawiro said he had received the update on his client from the police.

“It is true. We will fight back against the police,” Sugito, who was in Saudi Arabia along with Rizieq, said in reply to a text message from The Jakarta Post.

Sugito lamented that the police did not make an effort to pursue the uploader of the steamy chats that allegedly took place between Rizieq and Firza Husein, who was named a suspect in the same case on May 16, which led to the pornography charges against Rizieq and Firza.

“The investigators are being unfair and forcing their will [upon Rizieq]. Habib [Rizieq] has not even been questioned yet. They have gone too far,” he said.

Sugito did not give information regarding whether Rizieq, who is currently in Saudi Arabia, will return to Indonesia soon. (dea/dan)

The Jakarta Post, Indonesia
Police issue arrest warrant for Rizieq
written by Staff
Tuesday May 30, 2017

A day after the Jakarta Police declared Islam Defenders Front (FPI) firebrand leader Rizieq Shihab a suspect in a pornography case, they issued on Tuesday a warrant for his arrest.

The case surfaced early this year after screenshots of sexually explicit WhatsApp chats that allegedly took place between Rizieq and a treason suspect, Firza Husein, went viral. Firza has also been named suspect in the case.

Prior to being named a suspect, Rizieq had evaded police questioning twice, on April 25 and May 10, as he left the country with his family to go on umrah (minor haj). He has not returned to Indonesia since.

Meanwhile, Firza was arrested on May 16 over the same case after she underwent 12 hours of questioning at the Jakarta Police headquarters.

Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Argo Yuwono told reporters that the police would immediately visit Rizieq’s house to seek his whereabouts.

“From the suspect’s house we will go to the immigration office to find out more information regarding his exact location,” said Argo.

The warrant, he said, would also be used to begin the procedure to put Rizieq on the police’s most-wanted list.

“As a last resort, we will request that Interpol issue a red notice against Rizieq if there are no signs that he will be returning to Indonesia,” he said. (dea)


The Jakarta Post, Indonesia
written by Staff
Friday June 9, 2017

Islam Defenders Front (FPI) patron Rizieq Shihab’s lawyer, Kapitra Ampera, has said his team is set to apply for a pre-trial hearing to challenge the Jakarta Police’s decision to name the cleric a suspect in an alleged pornography case.

“Insya Allah [God willing], we will file the pretrial hearing request this June,” he told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

Kapitra said the lawyer team was still waiting for one document, which was essential in submitting the pre-trial request. He refused to explain what document he was talking about.

Rizieq left Indonesia to perform umrah (minor haj) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, from April 25 to May 10, skipping a police summons for questioning over the pornography case allegedly involving him and Firza Husein, the coordinator of the Solidaritas Sahabat Cendana Foundation (SSC) and a treason suspect.

Rizieq did not return to Indonesia after performing umrah and instead, planned to extend his visa.

During his long stay in Saudi Arabia, Kapitra said, Rizieq continued to write his dissertation for a doctoral degree at a university in Malaysia. He also used much of his time to meet with Muslim leaders in the country.

“He also delivers tausiyah [sermon] to university students and Indonesian citizens living in Saudi Arabia,” Kapitra said. (ecn/ebf)

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