Hard-liners allegedly provoked teens to mob Jakarta cafe
Paper Edition | Page: 1
Sr. Comr. Rikwanto: (Kompas/Sabrina Asril)
The police say that they will investigate the possibility that teenagers alledgedly involved in the ransacking of a cafe in Pesanggrahan, South Jakarta, on the weekend may have been provoked into participating in the raid.
“During questioning, we will ask the adult perpetrators how they gathered the mob and what words they used to influence the teenagers to participate in the raid,” Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto said on Monday.
“If [the adults] are proven to have incited the teenagers to commit violence, we will charge them with incitement to violence, as stipulated in the Criminal Code, and with inciting minors to participate in criminal acts, under the 2002 Child Protection Law,” he explained.
Under the Criminal Code’s Article 160, provocation to commit criminal acts is punishable by up to six years’ imprisonment, while Article 87 of the Child Protection Law carries a maximum five-year prison sentence for those who involve minors in acts of violence.
A police report released on Sunday revealed that Rasulullah Defenders’ Council members allegedly ransacked De Most cafe in Pesanggrahan and beat up at least two of the cafe’s employees at about 11:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Some of the mob’s members were arrested in the early hours of Sunday while on their way from the cafe to another location in Pondok Aren, South Tangerang.
The police have detained 62 people in relation to the case, including 41 teenagers, the youngest of whom are reportedly junior high school students. Of the 62 detainees, 23 individuals, including two underage boys identified only as R and IWN, have been named suspects.
Nineteen of the 23 suspects have been charged with forceful attack with intent to inflict harm under the Criminal Code’s Article 170, which carries a maximum sentence of five-and-a-half years in prison.
The remaining four, including R and IWN, have been charged under the same article and under the 1951 Emergency Law on firearms and explosives for illegally and publicly brandishing sharp weapons. The four could face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.
The mob’s alleged leader, Habib Bahar, 33, was among the four suspects facing multiple charges. South Jakarta Police chief Sr. Comr. Imam Sugianto said that Bahar had admitted to detectives that he had led the mob in ransacking the cafe and that he knew what he did was wrong.
Bahar said, however, that the raid had to be conducted. “If there are sinners who get drunk [in the cafe], we have to act,” he said as quoted by kompas.com.
One of the parents, who requested anonymity, said that her son had asked for permission to go to a “Koran-recital gathering” a few hours before the ransacking took place.
“He told me he wanted to go to such a gathering in Pasar Minggu. I never dreamed it could end like this,” she told tribunnews.com at the South Jakarta Police office on Sunday.
She said she had tried to telephone her son after he had not returned home by midnight on Sunday, but his cell phone was inactive. It was only in the morning that she learned that the police had detained her son.
National Child Protection Commission (KPAI) secretary M Ikhsan said he hoped that the police would consider releasing R and IWN into their parents’ care, with the guarantee that they would not repeat the offense and would turn up for legal processing.
He shared Rikwanto’s sentiment of applying the Child Protection Law’s article on inciting minors to participate in acts of violence.
“The underage perpetrators are liable to criminal charges, no matter whether they participated voluntarily or under duress. This can be a lesson for those who involve kids in acts like this,” he said.