Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab, left, has asked the National Police to include law expert Yusril Ihza Mahendra as a witness in the Pancasila insult case against him. (Antara Photo/Akbar Nugroho Gumay)

Rizieq Wants Law Expert Yusril Ihza Mahendra as Witness in Pancasila Insult Case


FEBRUARY 24, 2017

Jakarta. Rizieq Shihab, leader of the hardline Islamic Defenders Front, or FPI, has asked the National Police to include law expert Yusril Ihza Mahendra as a witness in one of the cases against him.

The West Java Police previously named Rizieq a suspect for allegedly having insulted the Pancasila state ideology.

National Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Martinus Sitompul said investigators will assess whether the expert witness is competent in his field.

"We will accommodate whoever is proposed [by the suspect]. But it should be in the legal field. For example, if [the suspect] proposed an expert on construction in this case, it will not be relevant," Martinus said on Friday (24/02).

"Mr. Yusril is [working] in the field of state administration. The procedure will include an assessment, as [investigators] will observe the discipline. Also, his educational and work history," the spokesman added.

According to Martinus, an expert witness will not be rejected as long as it is related to the legal case and has the skills needed, although investigators has the authority to deny any witness.

Rizieq reportedly also insulted Indonesia's first president, Sukarno, and mocked the decision by the country's secular and religious leaders in 1945 to drop a line in Pancasila obliging Indonesian Muslims to follow Islamic law.

Rizieq's public remark prompted Sukarno's daughter, Sukmawati Sukarnoputri, to report him to police in October last year for the alleged insult against Pancasila. He could face up to four years in prison if found guilty.

This is just one of several criminal cases Rizieq currently faces.

He is also under investigation for allegedly illegally occupying state land in Megamendung, a subdistrict of Bogor, West Java. The cleric is further implicated in an alleged plot against the government in December last year, while he is also facing other lawsuits brought against him by various groups.