Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia's National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) has sought an inquiry by National Police into the death of Soni Eranata alias Ustadz Maaher At-Thuwailibi, a popular and outspoken Muslim preacher.

"We have begun exploring information and accounts from the police regarding Ustadz Maaher's death during his legal process," Komnas HAM commissioner Choirul Anam informed at an online press conference in Jakarta on Thursday.

Representatives of the Cybercrime Directorate and the Health and Medical Center (Pusdokkes) of the National Police have elaborated how Ustadz Maaher was arrested, his illness, and the medical treatment he received, Anam said.

During their inquiry, human rights investigators did not just rely on the police's accounts, but they also checked Ustadz Maaher's medical records, and sought second opinions from doctors recommended by both Maaher's family and police, he added.

The accounts that the Komnas HAM received from both police officers and medical practitioners revealed that Ustadz Maaher died from illness, Anam said.

Ustadz Maaher was arrested at his house in Bogor, West Java, on December 3, 2020, following the filing of a defamation case against him by Husin Shahab.

The complainant had accused Ustadz Maaher of slandering Maulana Al-Habib Muhammad Luthfi bin Ali bin Yahya, also known as Habib Luthfi, a noted ulema of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), on his Twitter account.

One day after his arrest, on December 4, 2020, police investigators named him a suspect, and detained him at the National Police's Criminal Investigation Department (Bareskrim).

On January 20, 2021, Ustadz Maaher complained of illness. The police's team of doctors sent him to the Said Soekanto Police Hospital in East Jakarta for treatment.

After a week-long hospitalization, he was declared by the doctors to have recovered. Therefore, he was discharged from the hospital and sent back to the Bareksrim prison.

On February 4, 2021, the public prosecutors' office accepted Ustadz Maaher's dossier, thus changing his detention status from police detainee to the public prosecutors' detainee.

The public prosecutors' office also decided to detain Ustadz Maaher at the Bareskrim prison cell from February 4 to February 23, 2021.

On February 6, 2021, Ustadz Maaher again complained of illness, and doctors advised that he be sent back to the Said Soekanto Police Hospital.

According to the police, he, however, repeatedly refused to get re-admitted to the police hospital. Instead, he reportedly indicated his preference for remaining at the prison and receiving treatment from the police's team of doctors.

Ustadz Maaher died in his Bareskrim prison cell at 7:30 p.m. local time on February 8, 2021.

Prior to his death, as reported by various media outlets, a tearful Ustadz Maaher had expressed his willingness to beg Habib Luthfi's pardon.

In addition, Ustadz Maaher's wife, Iqlima Ayu, had also apologized to Habib Luthfi and the NU on behalf of her husband.

Born in Medan, North Sumatra, on July 14, 1992, Ustadz Maaher enjoyed a good relationship with many Muslim clerics in Indonesia, including Habib Rizieq Shihab, founder of the Islam Defenders Front (FPI), and popular Muslim preacher Ustadz Abdul Somad. (INE)

Related news: Do not believe hoaxes on cause of Maaher's death: Police


Translator: Dyah DA, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Suharto
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