By : Herdiansyah Rahman, Senior Researcher at LSISI, Jakarta
National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian said Jakarta Police have sent an investigative team to Saudi Arabia to find Rizieq Shihab, the firebrand leader of the Islamic Defenders Front, or FPI, who is now embroiled in a pornography case and has been on the run from the police since April.
Rizieq reportedly traveled to Saudi Arabia for theumrahpilgrimage. He has not been seen in Indonesia since then."Our team is already in Saudi Arabia to examine the suspect [Rizieq]," Tito said in Jakarta on Friday (18/08), as quoted by state news agency Antara. The police chief said theinvestigation will be intensified onceRizieq arrives back in Indonesia.
Rizieq, who has spent years preaching conservative Islamic values, is accused of violating Indonesia's strict anti-pornography laws by exchanging graphic messages and nude pictures with Firza Husein. Firza has also been named as a suspect in the case.
The pornography scandal began last year when accusations surfaced that the hardline Muslim cleric allegedly exchanged lewd textsand photographs on the popular messaging service WhatsApp with a woman called Firza Husein.
If the accusations are true, Rizieq can be charged under Indonesia's strict antipornography law. But so far, the cleric whose FPI frequently conducts raids on entertainment venues it considers immoral has skipped allsummonsesfor questioning by police.
Previously, Police added firebrand cleric Rizieq Shihab to its most wanted list since May 31th, 2017, after officially naming the Islamic Defenders' Front, or FPI, leader a suspect in an ongoing pornographycase. Investigators plan to hold a coordination meeting in coming days to mapout further actions tobring Rizieq to justice, which may include askingInterpol to issue a "red notice," or international arrest warrant, for the cleric.
The cleric left Indonesia in April with his family for the umrah, or mini pilgrimage to Mecca. He has yet to return to the countryand his whereabouts are still uncertain. The police suspect he is still in Saudi Arabia.
Recently, we have an information that Rizieq Shihab will be returned to Jakarta after hajj pilgrimage process done. Previously, some of FPI’s speaker had informed that Rizieq Shihab would be returned to Indonesia on August 15th, 2017 but he cancelled his plan because Rizieq Shihab has been doing hajj in Saudi Arabia.
Supporting Law Enforcement
After Rizieq Shihab has been left since April 2017, many people in Indonesia asked about the continue of law enforcement over the firebrand leader of the Islamic Defenders Front, or FPI. Observer tend to analysis that if the law enforcement efforts doesn’t do firmly by the goverment of Indonesia over Rizieq Shihab, it could be triggered untrust feeling to Indonesian government under Jokowi’s administration.
However the efforts of the National Police has sent an investigative team to Arab Saudi to find and catch Rizieq Shihab must be supported. There is some reason about that : first, law enforcement over Rizieq Shihab doesn’t mention as an uelema criminalization, because its just only to show that all of people in Indonesia have equal before the law.
Second, during on going law enforcement over him, Rizieq Shihab can use it to explan and to counter all of an allegation over himself, so law enforcement process is a gold chance for Rizieq Shihab to show and to prove if he doesn’t guilty over pornograhy scandal case which had been judged by Rizieq Shihab’s friend and colleagues as an odd conspiracy over him.
Third, If law enforcement over Rizieq Shihab can be done, its could be lightered trust feeling on law enforcement process in Indonesia and its can be used as a positive propaganda if Indonesian government will be equal to implement the rights, punishment and law enforcement to whoever broke or violated the law in Indonesia.
Fourth, law enforcement over Rizieq Shihab can be used by FPI’s member and other public figure and mass organization leader to be wise if they are ruling his organization.
Fifth, law enforcement over Rizieq Shihab as the act of valor from Jokowi’s administration to implement national law and those conditions as an answered over people yearnings over an equal law enforcement in Indonesia. People have been seen that law will be egged in Indonesia.
The plan of law enforcement over Rizieq Shihab will be had a great echoes in Indonesia and its will be noted as one of seriously and firmly attitude from Jokowi’s administration to implement law enforcement in Indonesia to everybody who is violate the law. These efforts will show that the supremacy of law in Indonesia has been well maintaining.
Meanwhile, its can predict that an information about the plan of examine Rizieq Shihab will be anticipated by FPI’s member dan its coalition to prepare anything action to back up their cleric leader.
The issue of uelema, activist and student criminalization will try to rise again by Rizieq Shihab’s follower and supporter through mass rallies, rigid and tight protection over him, propaganda and legal aid. Those condition can lighter un-condusive situation because most of them had been had a negative mind that law enforcement over Rizieq Shihab didn’t trully law enforcement but a political reveange over Rizieq Shihab, so that they called Shihab’s case as an odd conspiracy.
However, after ban of HTI, the plan of law enforcement over Rizieq Shihab have been lightering rise fragile tensions all over Indonesia territory and its could be made uncertainty and insecure situation and if the explanation from government on these plan didn’t implement and disseminate intensively, Rizieq Shihab’s case can be broke harmonize communication between uelema and the government which had been made previously.