Jakarta (ANTARA) - Rapid test conducted by the Jakarta police's medical worker on Islam Defenders Front (FPI) leader Habib Rizieq Shihab came non-reactive before questioning over the case of alleged breach of the government's health protocols on Saturday.

"Now, he is being questioned as a suspect," Jakarta Metropolitan Police Spokesman Sen. Coms. Yusri Yunus notified journalists here.

A group of journalists attempted to get a door-stop interview with this 55-year-old FPI leader shortly after his arrival at the police headquarters at around 10:30 a.m. local time.

Shihab, accompanied by his team of lawyers and several top figures of FPI, including the group's secretary general, Munarman, responded to questions posed by several journalists.

Shihab candidly spoke of having made no special preparations for today's questioning.

"No special preparations have been made. When we are questioned, we answer the questions. That is all," he revealed.

In response to being queried on whether he was ready for detention after the questioning, he emphasized that the police investigators were the final deciding authority on this matter.

Shihab remarked that his team of lawyers will also make public the outcome of the police's questioning.

Yunus had hinted earlier that the FPI leader will directly be arrested shortly after police investigators complete interrogating him over the case of alleged health protocol breach.

However, Yunus affirmed that police investigators were the final deciding authority on Shihab’s detention later on.

Shihab's lawyer, Aziz Yanuar, said his client will abide by the police investigators' likely decision to detain him following questioning.

"Insya Allah (God willing), he (Habib Rizieq Shihab) is ready for any possible outcome because he is a fighter," Yanuar remarked, adding that the team of lawyers were ready to support Shihab if he were to be detained.

Yanuar noted that his client and team of lawyers had thoroughly thought it out and had prepared necessary endeavors regarding the handling of this case, Yanuar added.

On Friday evening, Shihab had publicly announced his pledge to show up at the Jakarta Metropolitan Police headquarters on Saturday to answer the police's summons over the case of alleged health protocol breach.

In his public statement released by Front TV's YouTube channel, Shihab, who recently lost six of his guards that were killed early this week, claimed to have never escaped from or gotten rid of the legal process, though he sought rest for complete health recovery.

"I have neither ever run away nor hidden. I repeat again, I have neither ever escaped nor hidden because during my health recovery process, I stayed much more at the Markas Syariah Agricultural Islamic Boarding School in Megamendung, West Java," he emphasized.

Shihab 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 head of the events' organizing committee Haris Ubaidillah, secretary of the events' organizing committee Ali bin Alwi Alatas, FPI commander in charge of security affairs Maman Suryadi, FPI's general chairman responsible for the events Sobri Lubis, and Idrus, who was in charge of the events' rundown.

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.

Regarding the Shihab case, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) pressed for applying fair law enforcement in the case of this well-respected FPI leader to avoid any offense to the public sense of justice in communities.

"Law must truly be used as an instrument for educating and not as an instrument for targeting," MUI Deputy Chairman Anwar Abbas had earlier stated.

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.

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 cautioned.

"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.

Related news: FPI leader Habib Rizieq Shihab respects legal process

Related news: FPI leader Shihab arrives at Jakarta police HQ for questioning


Translator: Fianda SR, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
Copyright © ANTARA 2020