The Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Police are in the hunt for the secretary-general of hard-line group Islam Defenders Front (FPI), Novel Bamu'min, as he is suspected of organizing last Friday's violent protest in front of City Hall in Central Jakarta, in which 16 police were injured.
'Habib NV [Novel] is one of our suspects and we are locating his whereabouts to arrest him. He failed to meet our summons twice,' Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto told reporters on Monday.
Novel was named a suspect on Saturday alongside another high-ranking FPI member, Shahabudin Anggawi, who turned himself in for questioning and was detained after the police named him a suspect. Rikwanto explained that Shahabudin was also suspected of organizing last Friday's coordinated riot.
Novel and Shahabudin were named in the FPI's protest announcement letter sent to the police as the coordinators of the protest against the appointment of Jakarta Deputy Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama, a Protestant Christian of Chinese descent, as governor to replace outgoing Governor Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo, who will be inaugurated as president on Oct. 20.
The protest turned into a riot after the protestors moved from the front of the City Council building to the City Hall area. The protesters armed themselves with bags of rocks and manure to throw at the police. The police also found a sword and sharpened bamboo on the protesters' vehicles. The riot left 16 police officers injured and damaged several cars. The victims included Gambir precinct chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Putu Putera Sadana, who is still undergoing treatment for head injuries at Pelni Hospital in Central Jakarta.
Apart from Novel and Shahabudin, Rikwanto said, the police had named 19 other suspects, 16 of whom had been detained at the Jakarta Police headquarters in South Jakarta. Four of them were released because they were minors.
'Most of the people who protested came from outside Jakarta. They received a broadcast message asking for support for last Friday's protest. This message was received in many of their branches around Java,' Rikwanto said.
If the suspects were found guilty, he said, they could face a maximum prison sentence of five years for fighting officers, under Article 214 of the Criminal Code. Rikwanto said that the suspects could also face charges under articles 170, 160 and 406 of the code for collective property damage and provocation.
The riot was the second protest held by the hard-line group this month. The police refused to take sterner action against FPI members involved in the first protest because no obvious violence had taken place, although many threats were uttered against Ahok and other Jakartans of Chinese descent. (fss)
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