Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Jakarta Metropolitan Police investigators grilled Islam Defenders Front (FPI) leader Habib Rizieq Shihab for 11 hours over the case of alleged breach of the government's health protocols in several crowds-pulling events, held at his home and FPI headquarters last month.

"In the questioning, conducted from 11.30 a.m. to 10.00 p.m. on Saturday, the police investigators raised 84 questions to the suspect," National Police Spokesman Inspector General Argo Yuwono said here early Sunday.

Speaking to journalists at the Jakarta Metropolitan Police headquarters, Yuwono said the police investigators also decided to detain the FPI leader as a suspect in the health protocol breach case.

"The suspect is under the police custody for 20 days starting from December 12 to December 31, 2020," he said, adding that the police investigators decided to detain Shihab with objective and subjective considerations.

Among the points that the investigators had taken into account for deciding the suspect's custody were the length of prison sentence which was potentially more than five years, and efforts to make him unable to destroy evidence, run away, and do similar crimes.

Shihab's lawyer, Aziz Yanuar, said earlier that his client would abide by the police investigators' possible 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.
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Translator: Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Suharto
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