South Jakarta Police have decided to release Nurul Fahmi, the man believed to have carried a desecrated Indonesian flag during a rally by the Islamic Defenders Front, or FPI, last week. (Antara Photo/Retno Esnir)

Police Charge Man Accused of Desecrating Indonesian Flag


JANUARY 21, 2017

Jakarta. Police said they have charged a man for allegedly desecrating the Indonesian flag during a recent protest rally by the Islamic Defenders Front, or FPI, in South Jakarta.

There has been no word from the police on whether the man was actually a member of the hardline Muslim group.

Police arrested the man, identified by his initials NF, in South Jakarta three days after Monday's (16/01) demonstration in front of the National Police headquarters.

During the rally, NF was seen hoisting Indonesia's red-and-white national flag stamped with Arabic letters and two crossed swords.

"The man has been detained and named as suspect," Jakarta Police spokesman Chief Comr. Raden Yuwono said on Saturday.

Police have so far questioned four witnesses and will question more to determine whether the suspect is a member of the FPI or only one of its sympathizers, Argo said.

"Based on our ongoing investigation, he often took part in protest rallies."

The vandalized Indonesian flag has drawn widespread condemnation from government officials and lawmakers, who have recently been urging the police to act tough on FPI.

The hardline group is notorious for intolerant and violent acts across the world's largest Muslim-majority democracy since its formation in the mid-1990s.