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Jakarta Post

Indonesia protests Czech mosque raid

  • Bagus BT Saragih

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, April 30, 2014   /  09:27 am

The Indonesian government has filed a diplomatic complaint with the Czech government over a recent raid at a mosque in Prague in which dozens of people, including several Indonesian diplomats, were apprehended by local police.

'€œBesides filing a diplomatic note, Deputy Foreign Minister Wardana also summoned the Czech Ambassador to Indonesia [Tomas Smetanka] to the Foreign Ministry in Jakarta on Tuesday afternoon,'€ Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told The Jakarta Post via text message.

Marty is now in New York, the US, to attend the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) meeting for the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

Meanwhile, the Indonesian Embassy in Prague also demanded that the Czech police force provide an explanation for the incident, according to the embassy'€™s social and culture secretary, Wahono Yulianto, who was among those apprehended by the police.

Antara news agency reported that the raid took place when dozens of Muslims, including 10 Indonesians, were carrying out Friday prayers last week at a mosque inside the Islamic Foundation complex on the outskirts of Prague.

The 10 Indonesians consisted of nine diplomats and one student, according to Wahono.

The police were looking for the author of an Islamic book that local authorities have accused of promoting an anti-human rights movement, the Czech News Agency (TK) reported, as quoted by Prague Post.

'€œThe police officers wore full armor and face masks, looking like members of Indonesia'€™s Densus 88 counterterrorism force. They came right before we started the Friday prayers and asked all of us to lie facedown and put our hands on our heads. One of the police officers put his gun to my head,'€ Wahono said.

The police released several children, elderly people and invalids. '€œAfter 40 minutes, one policeman asked whether any of us in the mosque held diplomatic passports. Six Indonesians with diplomatic passports were released after one-and-a-half hours but the remaining three were [only] released over two hours later, after I convinced the police that they were also Indonesian diplomats,'€ Wahono added.

He accused the Czech police of having violated the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

As a result of the raid, the police arrested a 55-year-old Czech believed to be the editor of the book. Pavel Hantak, spokesman for the police'€™s organized crime unit (UOOZ), accused the book of promoting a movement suppressing human rights and freedom.

Separately, Indonesia expressed its concerns over a mass trial in Egypt on Monday in which the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and more than 680 other people were sentenced to death over last year'€™s post-coup violence.

'€œAs a friendly country that has the largest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia is closely observing the situation in Egypt with deep concern,'€ Marty said in an official statement.

'€œWith no intention of interfering with the domestic issues in Egypt, we are concerned about the death sentences given to the 683 members of the Muslim Brotherhood on April 28, as well as to 529 other Egyptians who were sentenced in March,'€ he said. '€œThis has widely attracted Indonesian people'€™s attention.'€

The mass trials were linked to riots in which supporters of ousted president Mohamed Mursi allegedly attacked police stations and churches, in retaliation for security forces violently breaking up sit-ins by Islamists in Cairo in August, leaving hundreds dead. The defendants in Monday'€™s trial are part of a group of nearly 1,000 who were implicated in the deaths of three policemen and a civilian, as well as the injury of many others.

'€œWe also pray that the democratization process in Egypt remains focused on inclusive reconciliation ['€¦] with a hope that the processes will be accomplished peacefully,'€ Marty said.

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