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Jakarta Post

Police drop porn case against Rizieq

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sun, June 17, 2018   /   11:36 am
Police drop porn case against Rizieq Rizieq Shihab leads followers participating in a rally in Jakarta on Feb. 21, 2017. They asked the government to resolve the blasphemy case of then-Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama and detain him. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

The National Police have terminated their investigation into a pornography case allegedly involving firebrand cleric Rizieq Shihab, citing a lack of evidence.  

The Islam Defenders Front (FPI) leader was allegedly involved in steamy Whatsapp conversations with a female follower. The chats, which included some nude pictures, were uploaded to the website baladacintarizieq.com.

The police have yet to find the owner of the now-defunct website, though some of the said materials could still be found elsewhere on the web.

“After conducting a case screening, investigators decided to drop the case because we could not find the uploader [of the chats],” National Police spokesperson Brig. Gen. Muhammad Iqbal told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.

Police charged Rizieq with violating the 2008 Pornography Law in May 2017, by which time Rizieq had fled to Saudi Arabia and refused to return to Indonesia, despite several police summonses.

Iqbal said the police’s decision to drop the case was made after Rizieq’s lawyer, Kapitra Ampera, requested that his client’s case be reviewed.

He confirmed that the police as of now had no sufficient evidence to continue their investigation, but added that “the case can be reopened if we find new evidence”.

Rizieq, who spearheaded the 2016 sectarian rallies that led to the incarceration of former Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama for blasphemy last year, has said he believed his case was politically motivated.

Several human rights activists criticized Rizieq for his often incendiary sermons, but they also questioned the police’s move to charge the cleric under the 2008 Pornography Law. The law, backed by conservative groups, including the FPI, is widely seen as draconian and a threat to civil liberties.  

The news about the case termination initially came from Rizieq, who released a video with his wife and five children from Saudi Arabia, where he thanked God, his supporters and his lawyers for securing him the investigation termination warrant as well as the government and police for issuing the warrant.

It is unclear if he will return to Indonesia. (nor/ahw)