Habib Rizieq's Lawyer Asks Police to Halt Probe Into Porn Scandal

A lawyer for firebrand Islamist cleric Rizieq Shihab said on Wednesday (23/08) that he has filed a request with the police to terminate what he called a flawed investigation into a pornography scandal allegedly involving his client. (Antara Photo/Idhad Zakaria)

By : Alin Almanar | on 5:50 PM August 23, 2017
Category : News

Jakarta. A lawyer for firebrand Islamist cleric Rizieq Shihab said on Wednesday (23/08) that he has filed a request with the police to terminate what he called a flawed investigation into a pornography scandal allegedly involving his client.

The police have been pressing ahead with their investigation into the case, which surfaced when screenshots of WhatsApp chats allegedly between Rizieq, the leader of the hardline Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), and a female follower called Firza Husein, containing pornographic pictures and videos were leaked to the public.

Rizieq has been avoiding the police since he was declared a suspect in the case in May. He is currently believed to be on the run in Saudi Arabia after having left Indonesia for umrah, or a minor pilgrimage.

His lawyers have since been demanding that the police drop the case against their client.

One of his lawyers, Sugito Atmo Pawiro, eventually filed a request to drop the case with the Jakarta Police's special crimes unit on Tuesday.

"There is not enough evidence to name our client as a suspect," Sugito told the Jakarta Globe, countering police claims. "The Jakarta Police said they will examine the request."

Jakarta Police spokesman Chief Comr. Argo Yuwono told reporters on Wednesday that his office had already received the request.

"It is now up to the investigators," Argo said, declining to elaborate.

Police previously said they have enough evidence against Rizieq, who could face at least five years in prison under Indonesia's strict antipornography law if found guilty.

But police said they have not been able to find the source of the leaked WhatsApp chats, despite having promised to do so for months, drawing criticism from Rizieq's lawyers.

"They should charge the people who leaked the pornographic content to the public," Sugito said. "They're targeting the wrong person."

Rizieq's lawyers have said that he would not return to Indonesia anytime soon.

However, police are seeking ways to return Rizieq to Indonesia for questioning and said last Friday that they had sent a team of investigators to Saudi Arabia to find and interrogate him.

Police also declared Firza a suspect in the case in May.

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