FPI members rally outside the National Police headquarters in Jakarta on Monday (16/01) to demand the dismissal of West Java Police chief Insp. Gen. Anton Charliyan, Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. M. Iriawan and West Kalimantan Police chief Brig. Gen. Musyafak. (Antara Photo/Reno Esnir)

By Demanding That Police Chiefs Be Sacked, FPI Commits a Form of Terror: Setara Institute

BY :ALIN ALMANAR

JANUARY 17, 2017

Jakarta. A pro-democracy and rights group has lashed out at Muslim hardliners who demand the dismissal of the police chiefs of West Java, Jakarta and West Kalimantan, calling it a "supreme manifestation of intolerance" that can undermine law enforcement.

Last week, members of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) clashed with the Indonesian Grassroots Movement (GMBI) at the Bandung Police headquarters in West Java, where the FPI's leader, Rizieq Shihab, was interrogated for allegedly insulting the official state ideology.

This prompted FPI members to rally outside the National Police headquarters in Jakarta on Monday (16/01) and demand the dismissal of West Java Police chief Insp. Gen. Anton Charliyan, who heads the GMBI's advisory board. They also called on the National Police to sack Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. M. Iriawan and West Kalimantan Police chief Brig. Gen. Musyafak.

Setara Institute, a Jakarta-based nongovernmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, human rights and political freedom, perceives the rallies as irrelevant, disproportionate and undermining the rule of law.

"The supremacy of law must not bow to mass pressure and intolerance, which now come to dominate public space," Setara Institute chairman Hendardi said in a statement.

"To demonstrate and express dissatisfaction is a constitutional right, but by setting ultimatums and making threats while demanding the police chiefs to be sacked, FPI is committing a form of terror," he added.

On Friday, GMBI secretariat in Bogor, West Java, was attacked by FPI sympathizers in an alleged retaliation after the clash in Bandung. Police have already arrested 12 persons and named them suspects in the attack.

Meanwhile, FPI leader Rizieq Shihab is facing a string of police reports, ranging from blasphemy and hate speech to defamation. Several West Java organizations reported him for mocking Sundanese culture by making a pun on "sampurasun," the Sundanese word for "hello," and "campur racun" ("mixed with poison").

He was recently reported to the Jakarta Police for a speech that went viral on social media, in which he allegedly said the new rupiah banknotes featured the hammer-and-sickle symbol that resembles the logo of the long-disbanded and prohibited Indonesian Communist Party (PKI).

Several watchdog organizations and experts have called on the National Police to fast-track the investigations against him

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