Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) pressed for applying fair law enforcement in the case of Islam Defenders Front (FPI) leader Habib Rizieq Shihab to avoid any offense to the public sense of justice in communities.

"Law must truly be used as an instrument for educating and not an instrument for targeting," MUI Deputy Chairman Anwar Abbas was quoted by ANTARA as saying in Jakarta on Friday.

The police's decision to name Shihab as a suspect for violating health protocols in holding events that led to the congregation of people must reflect the use of law as an instrument to edify rather than target, Abbas stated.

Shihab, who recently lost six of his guards that were killed early this week, was named a suspect on Thursday along with five other people on grounds of violation of health protocols during the events at his home and the FPI headquarters in Jakarta last month.

The five other suspects are FPI's general chairman Ahmad Sobri Lubis, Haris Ubaidillah, Alwi Alatas, Ahmad Suryadi, and Idrus.

The Jakarta Metropolitan Police also appealed to the government's authorized agencies to impose 20-day travel bans on Shihab and five others to prevent them from traveling abroad.

Abbas emphasized that law enforcement against Shihab and his men over the cases of holding crowd-drawing events must also be imposed fairly and equally on other community members found breaching the government's COVID-19 protocols in the country.

Failing to implement the principle of fair law enforcement and public sense of justice would only create unrest among members of the public, he stated.

"To this end, we hope, without exception, that all people or parties that have breached the COVID-19 rules, as the police have accused Habib Rizieq Shihab of having done, would also be named suspects," he affirmed.

Abbas urged the people, at large, to stay calm in responding to the police's decision to name Shihab a suspect for the case related to the breach of health protocols.

The communities should also support the police to facilitate fair enforcement of laws as demanded by the principle of equality before the law. By doing so, the police can enforce the law as fairly as possible, he affirmed.

On Monday, Jakarta Metropolitan Police Chief Inspector General Fadil Imran declared that on-duty police investigation officers had shot dead six guards of FPI leader Shihab for attacking them.

The incident took place on Monday, December 7, 2020, at 00:30 a.m. local time on the Jakarta-Cikampek KM 50 Toll Road, Imran revealed.

The incident occurred when officers were probing information on a likely mobilization of masses for which Shihab would face the Jakarta Police’s interrogation.

The Jakarta Police summoned Shihab for allegedly violating COVID-19 health protocols during his daughter's wedding that coincided with the maulid (the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad commemoration), thereby leading to crowding.

"When officers of the Jakarta Metro Jaya Police followed vehicles suspected of carrying MRS (Muhammad Rizieq Shihab) followers, the officers' vehicle was intercepted and then attacked with firearms and sharp weapons," Imran noted.

The Jakarta Police chief confirmed that of the total 10 attackers, six were neutralized, while four fled.

Imran confirmed that no casualties or injuries were reported from the police side, though their vehicle had incurred damage after the shooting and collision by the attackers' vehicle and was shot at.

However, the FPI denied claims of its members having attacked police officers on grounds that they were unarmed.

"FPI members do not have firearms. A shootout is impossible," Munarman, the general secretary of FPI, stated at a press conference.

Munarman affirmed that the fatal shooting was an extrajudicial killing. Hence, he urged to uncover the truth behind the incident by forming an independent fact-finding team that involved Indonesia's National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM).

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Translator: Anom P, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Suharto
Copyright © ANTARA 2020