Police Send Team to Saudi Arabia to Find Fugitive Cleric Embroiled in Porn Scandal

Rizieq Shihab, center, is on the run from the police after pornography charges. (Reuters Photo/Darren Whiteside)

By : Jakarta Globe | on 6:08 PM August 18, 2017
Category : News, Crime, Featured

Jakarta. National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian said Jakarta Police have sent an investigative team to Saudi Arabia to find Rizieq Shihab, the firebrand leader of the Islamic Defenders Front, or FPI, who is now embroiled in a pornography case and has been on the run from the police since April.

"Our team is already in Saudi Arabia to examine the suspect [Rizieq]," Tito said in Jakarta on Friday (18/08), as quoted by state news agency Antara.

The police chief said the investigation will be intensified once Rizieq arrives back in Indonesia.

The pornography scandal began last year when accusations surfaced that the hardline Muslim cleric allegedly exchanged lewd texts and photographs on the popular messaging service WhatsApp with a woman called Firza Husein.

If the accusations are true, Rizieq can be charged under Indonesia's strict antipornography law. But so far, the cleric — whose FPI frequently conducts raids on entertainment venues it considers immoral — has skipped all summonses for questioning by police.

Rizieq reportedly traveled to Saudi Arabia for the umrah pilgrimage. He has not been seen in Indonesia since then.

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