FPI’s Firebrand Cleric Rizieq Shihab Absent From Police Questioning


APRIL 25, 2017

Jakarta. Rizieq Shihab, leader of the hardline group Islamic Defenders Front, or FPI, skipped a Jakarta Police summons on Tuesday (25/04), when the firebrand cleric and other witnesses were expected to answer questions regarding a pornographic texting scandal.

Rizieq's lawyers filed a notice with police that the cleric would not attend the summons, according to Jakarta Police deputy chief Brig. Gen. Suntana.

Other key witnesses skipped Tuesday's questioning as well, including Rizieq's reported girlfriend Firza Husein and Muchsin Alatas, leader of FPI Jakarta.

Rizieq was reported to police for allegedly violating the 2008 Information and Electronic Transactions (ITE) law by purportedly exchanging pornographic material with Firza over the popular messaging service WhatsApp.

"We're investigating Firza as well [...] We've also reminded them [FPI] not to bring a crowd [to the investigation]. We ask all citizens who have been summoned by the police for questioning to appear," Suntana said.

"We heard Firza will not be appearing today. We will summon the witnesses a second time. Again, no need to send in a crowd with them," he said.

In January, a group of students calling themselves the Alliance of Anti-Pornography Students reported to the police a series of photos and videos which they claimed were exchanged between Rizieq and Firza.

The website that hosted the scandalous photos has since been blocked as the Jakarta Police escalate their probe into the matter.

Rizieq and Firza have both said the photos on the website were fake and denied responsibility for the exchange of illicit material over WhatsApp.

Watch Indonesia Highlights at 8 p.m. tonight on the Jakarta Globe News Channel and Facebook Live to find out more about FPI Rizieq’s alleged involvement in the pornography case.