Police chief denies ulemas are being criminalized

Police chief denies ulemas are being criminalized

Police Chief Gen Pol Tito Karnavian prepared to attend a working meeting with Commission III of Parliament at the Parliament Complex, Senayan, Jakarta, Tuesday (5/23/2017). (ANTARA /Akbar Nugroho Gumay) ()

"Allegations of criminalization of the ulemas is untrue," Karnavian said.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesian Police Chief Gen. Tito Karnavian denied allegations that the police criminalized ulemas by summoning the leader of Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) Rizieq Shihab and Secretary General of the Brotherhood of Islam Forum (FUI) Muhamad Al Khaththath.

"Allegations of criminalization of the ulemas is untrue," Karnavian said during an official meeting with Commission III of the House of Representatives here, Tuesday.

The two leaders, he remarked, were allegedly involved in a few cases and the investigations were being conducted according to the regulation.

In addition, the police have strong evidence linking them to the cases, and hence, the move to summon both the leaders cannot be seen as criminalization, he asserted.

"We have to have a common understanding here on (the meaning) of criminalization," Karnavian stressed, adding that the investigation was based on legal facts.

"If it is a legal fact that they have violated the regulation, then we would say it is law enforcement, not criminalization," he maintained.

Al Khaththath was arrested on March 31, ahead of the 313 mass rally.

He was allegedly involved in a malicious conspiracy to topple Joko Widodo administration.

The police have also arrested other suspects Zainudin Arsyad, Irwansyah, Dikho Nugraha and Andry.

Meanwhile, Rizieq Shihab is allegedly involved in the defacement of the countrys ideology Pancasila, blasphemy against the first president Sukarno, spreading of hatred by making a comment on BIs symbol on the new bank notes, alleged blasphemy against Christianity in his preach, in addition to spreading hatred by appealing to ethnic, religious and inter-group (SARA) differences.

Rizieq has also been accused of distributing pornographic content in his WhatsApp chat, blasphemy against the Sundanese language, and illegal land ownership in Megamendung, Bogor of West Java.

The police have sent a summon letter to Rizieq, but the later reportedly left the country for reasons that are still unclear.(*)

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