Police question illegal hajj pilgrimage suspect in Philippines

"The chances of bringing him over to Indonesia are very small at the moment as he is still held responsible for his acts in the Philippines," Ari Dono Sukmanto said.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The National Police is questioning an individual, with the initials HR, who is suspected to have organized an illegal Hajj pilgrimage, in the Philippines.

This information was revealed by Chief of the National Police Crime Unit Ari Dono Sukmanto.

"The chances of bringing him over to Indonesia are very small at the moment as he is still held responsible for his acts in the Philippines," he said in Jakarta, Tuesday.

Police, in co-operation with the Foreign Ministry, got statements from HR, who is one of eight suspects in the case, he added.

The investigation, involving the Indonesian police, was made possible by the Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) between ASEAN member countries.

Mutual Legal Assistance allows member countries to help each other on criminal matters.

The Indonesian government has used it through the State Regulations number 15 of 2008 about the Treaty Ratification on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, which allow the handover of a piece of evidence, including a suspects testimony, within the entire ASEAN territory.

As for the suspects statement, the police chief said it will be used to complete the statements made by other suspects who have been questioned in Indonesia.

"We will ask for the deportation of HR so that the investigation can be continued in Indonesia," he reiterated.

Suspect HR is known to work individually, while the other seven work collectively as a travel group.

HRs role in this case was to prepare exit permits to leave the Philippines with the approval of the local government.

Until now, the police have pointed to eight suspects in the illegal departure of 177 Indonesian Hajj pilgrims from the Philippines.

Aside from HR, other suspects include AS, BDMW, MNA, MT, F alias A, AH and ZAP.

They are charged under the State Regulations number 8 of 1999 on the Protection of Consumers, Number 13 of 2008 on Organizing Hajj Pilgrimage and clause 378 on fraud.

All suspects are facing 12 years in prison.(*)

Comments