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BerichtOnderwerp: Fugitive FPI leader Rizieq Shihab returning to Indonesia   ma 27 nov 2017 - 22:38

Fugitive FPI leader Rizieq Shihab returning to Indonesia for anti-Ahok rally anniversary: lawyer

By Coconuts Jakarta Nov. 27, 2017

FPI leader Rizieq Syihab during a sermon in which he claimed that the new Indonesian rupiah bills contain hidden communist symbols.

The founder and spiritual leader of the hardline Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), Rizieq Shihab, has been a fugitive from Indonesian justice since May, when he fled to Saudi Arabia after being named by the Jakarta Police as a suspect in a high-profile and highly ironic pornography case.
But his lawyers claim the firebrand priest will finally return to his homeland this week in order to attend Saturday’s anniversary celebration of his greatest political triumph – the massive December 2, 2016 (212) protest against former Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama.

“Insha Allah, Habib (Rizieq) will come to Indonesia to attend the event,” one of Rizieq’s lawyers, Kapitra Ampera, told Kompas on Saturday.

“Insha Allah, Habib Rizieq will be present at Monas (the National Monument) on the 2nd. By November 30 or December 1 he will already be in Jakarta,” Kapitra added, saying that FPI chairman Sobri Lubis would pick up Rizieq in Saudi Arabia.

Take this news with a big boulder-sized grain of salt, however. Rizieq’s lawyers have said he would return to Indonesia to face justice numerous times in the past but, obviously, he has not.

They have also inconsistently said that Rizieq would only return to Indonesia after the pornography charges (as well as the numerous other criminal cases against him) were dropped or President Joko Widodo (whom Rizieq claims is behind a grand criminalization conspiracy against him and other Islamic clerics) is out of office.

However, Kapitra’s latest statement is interesting in that previously FPI officials had only claimed that Rizieq would teleconference into the 212-anniversary event from Saudi Arabia.

It’s possible that Rizieq feels the political climate is more conducive to his return right now. The recent inauguration of Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, who arguably owes a great deal of his election victory to Rizieq and the FPI’s loud protests and who just overturned Ahok-era regulations that banned religious functions at Monas (just in time for the 212 reunion), might have given Rizieq the confidence to try and make his long-anticipated return.

Previously, police had suggested that they would immediately arrest the FPI leader at the airport should he ever return to Indonesia, Jakarta Police public relations head Argo Yuwono demurred, saying he didn’t want to speculate yet on what course the police would take should Rizieq return.

But, once again, we’re extremely skeptical that Rizieq will show his face in Indonesia this week or anytime soon.

Speaking to the media today, FPI Jakarta secretary general Novel Chaidir Bamukmin Hasan (of Fitsa Hats fame) seemed to be on a different page from Rizieq’s lawyers, telling reporters that the FPI founder would be teleconferencing in after all.

And while the police may not yet have made a statement as such, public pressure would almost certainly force them to arrest Rizieq were he to return to Indonesia after being a fugitive for so many months.

And. as he supposedly wrote in a message to the media delivered by another one of his lawyers in September, Rizieq said he’d rather stay in Saudi and be called a coward than return to Indonesia and get arrested.


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