For weeks Rizieq has been fleeing police investigation. He is charged with engaging in pornographic WhatsApp chats, which is an offense under Indonesia's strict anti-pornography law. (SP Photo/Joanito De Saojoao)

Police Intensify Investigation as FPI's Rizieq Denies Pancasila Insult Allegations

BY :FAROUK ARNAZ

JANUARY 25, 2017

Jakarta. Rizieq Shihab, leader of the hardline Islamic Defenders Front, or FPI, has denied allegations that he insulted Pancasila, despite evidence to the contrary, a police official said.

The West Java Police have stepped up their investigation into the allegation against the firebrand cleric.

"We have investigated the crime scene, but we will intensify our efforts with a follow-up investigation. We have questioned many parking attendants and members of the stage crew – all actual witnesses – while [Rizieq] has denied [the allegations against him]," West Java Police chief Insp. Gen. Anton Charliyan said in Jakarta on Wednesday (25/01).

He said the alleged insult was clearly uttered during Rizieq's speech.

"We need [more] evidence. The event organizer is an FPI member. So, it is okay [if they choose to deny the allegations]. The FPI has admitted though that the event did take place, and we also know that from the event permit," Anton said.

Investigators will hold another case exposé next week, when they will consider all available evidence, including testimony by witnesses and experts.

"They [the pieces of evidence] all stand as a series of facts. One fact is linked to the next. These [facts] should be carefully addressed, as they relate to the law. They [the defendants] might dodge it if there is any weakness [in the evidence]," Anton said.

Investigators will remain cautious and objective in any decision to name suspects in the case, he continued.

Rizieq has reportedly also defamed Indonesia's first president, Sukarno, and mocked a decision by the country's secular and religious leaders to drop the so-called Jakarta Charter, which before Indonesia's independence sought to include an obligation for Muslims to follow Islamic law in the Pancasila state ideology.

Rizieq's remarks prompted Sukarno's daughter, Sukmawati Sukarnoputri, to report him to police.

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