Jakarta (ANTARA) - The East Jakarta District Court sentenced Habib Hanif Alatas to one year in prison on Thursday over the Ummi Hospital swab testing case.

However, this son-in-law of founder of the now-defunct Islam Defenders Front (FPI) Habib Rizieq Shihab rejected the verdict and filed an appeal to the higher court against it.

The court's judiciary panel, headed by Khadwanto, who read out the verdict during a live-streamed court hearing, found that Alatas was pronounced guilty of misinforming on Shihab's health condition.

Judge Khadwanto handed Alatas the prison term in the Bogor City-based Ummi Hospital's COVID-19 swab testing case for violating Article 14 (1) of Law No.1 of 1946 on misinformation.

Khadwanto remarked that the panel of judges awarded him a lighter punishment than two years' imprisonment demanded by the prosecutors, as he had no past history of crimes.

However, Alatas was sentenced since his misinformation on Shihab's health condition had stirred anxiety in the community due to his father-in-law's positive swab test result.

In response to the panel of judges' ruling, Alatas said he had appealed to the higher court against the guilty verdict.

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Indonesia's esteemed ulema Habib Rizieq Shihab had earlier rejected the court's verdict sentencing him to four years imprisonment.

"I reject the verdict and appeal to the higher court against it. Thank you," Shihab noted in response to the verdict that the court's judiciary read out.

Judge Kadwanto handed Shihab the prison term for having stirred anxiety in the community owing to his misinformation on his health condition although he was confirmed to have suffered from COVID-19 symptoms.

Shihab rejected the judges' ruling that he had violated Article 14 (1) of Law No.1 of 1946 on misinformation resulting in a four-year prison term awarded to him.

One of Shihab's lawyers, Sugito Atmo Prawiro, also appealed to a higher court against the verdict, although the prison term handed out to his client was lighter than the six-year imprisonment demanded by the prosecutors.

On May 27, 2021, the same district court had also sentenced Shihab to eight months in prison and imposed a fine of Rp20 million on him over breaching the country's health quarantine law in connection with several crowd-drawing events in Jakarta and Megamendung, West Java, last year.

Owing to the case of alleged breach of the government's health protocols during a series of crowd-gathering events at his home and the FPI headquarters in Petamburan, Central Jakarta, in November 2020, Shihab was detained on December 12, 2020.
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Translator: Yogi R, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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