JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A firebrand Indonesian cleric turned himself in to authorities Saturday after he was accused of inciting folks to breach pandemic restrictions by holding occasions with massive crowds.
Rizieq Shihab, chief of the Islamic Defenders Entrance, arrived at Jakarta police headquarters a day after police warned they might arrest him after he ignored a number of summonses.
Carrying a white gown, turban and face masks, Shihab instructed reporters that he by no means ran away or hid from police.
“With God’s permission, I can come to the Jakarta police for an investigation based on the legal guidelines and laws,” he stated forward of questioning.
Jakarta police spokesman Yusri Yunus instructed a information convention Friday that Shihab is accused of ignoring measures to curb the unfold of COVID-19 by holding an occasion to commemorate Prophet Muhammad’s birthday and the marriage of his daughter final month that pulled in 1000’s of his supporters.
He stated Shihab may resist six years in jail if discovered responsible of inciting folks to violate well being laws amid an outbreak and of obstructing regulation enforcement.
Shihab’s presence in a number of occasions in Jakarta and West Java attracted massive crowds with attendants visibly ignoring bodily distancing and lots of failing to put on masks.
Jakarta Gov. Anies Baswedan and West Java Gov. Ridwan Kamil have been questioned as witnesses within the case.
The gatherings occurred lower than every week after his arrival from a three-year exile in Saudi Arabia.
Shihab left Indonesia in 2017 for a pilgrimage to Mecca shortly after police charged him in a pornography case and with insulting the official state ideology. Police dropped each prices a 12 months later as a consequence of weak proof, however authorities in Saudi Arabia had banned him from leaving the nation with out an evidence.
The Islamic Defenders Entrance, identified by its Indonesian acronym FPI, has a protracted document of vandalizing nightspots, hurling stones at Western embassies and attacking rival spiritual teams. It needs the Islamic Shariah regulation to use to Indonesia’s 230 million Muslims.
The group has gained important affect in recent times via humanitarian and charity work. It was a key organizer of huge road protests in 2016 and 2017 in opposition to the Christian governor of Jakarta, who was subsequently imprisoned for blasphemy.
Indonesia has reported greater than 600,000 circumstances of the coronavirus, the biggest tally in Southeast Asia and second in Asia solely to India’s 9.8 million circumstances.
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