Hardline Indonesian cleric held over alleged coronavirus lockdown breaches

By Agustinus Beo Da Costa JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesian police detained firebrand Islamic cleric Rizieq Shihab for questioning on Saturday on suspicion of breaching coronavirus restrictions by staging several mass gatherings since his return from self-exile last month. The controversial and politically influential cleric has called for a 'moral revolution' since returning on Nov. 10, fueling tension with President Joko Widodo's administration in the world's most populous Muslim-majority country.

Reuters December 13, 2020 00:10:30 IST
Hardline Indonesian cleric held over alleged coronavirus lockdown breaches

coronavirus lockdown breaches" src="https://images.firstpost.com/wp-content/uploads/reuters/12-2020/13/2020-12-12T124320Z_1_LYNXMPEGBB08C_RTROPTP_2_INDONESIA-SECURITY-ISLAM-EXPLAINER.jpg" alt="Hardline Indonesian cleric held over alleged coronavirus lockdown breaches" width="300" height="225" />

By Agustinus Beo Da Costa

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesian police detained firebrand Islamic cleric Rizieq Shihab for questioning on Saturday on suspicion of breaching coronavirus restrictions by staging several mass gatherings since his return from self-exile last month.

The controversial and politically influential cleric has called for a "moral revolution" since returning on Nov. 10, fueling tension with President Joko Widodo's administration in the world's most populous Muslim-majority country.

Rizieq's arrest came after six members of his Islamic Defender's Front (FPI) were killed on Monday in a shootout with police investigating the violation of coronavirus protocols amid rising infections and deaths.

Rizieq's lawyer, Aziz Yanuar, who is also an FPI official, said the cleric was held after appearing at a police station in the capital Jakarta and that his team would file a motion to seek his release.

A police statement said Rizieq was being questioned on charges of suspected breaches of coronavirus restrictions and that investigators would decide whether he would be detained.

"The law needs to be upheld. Prominent people need to face the legal consequences if they break the law whatever their role or the support they have from the masses," chief security minister Mahfud MD told Reuters.

With a reputation for raiding bars, brothels and violently cracking down on religious minorities, the FPI has gained political influence in the country of 270 million people in recent years.

In 2016, Rizieq was the figurehead of a mass movement against Jakarta's former Christian governor, who was jailed on blasphemy charges for insulting Islam.

Rizieq left the country a year later after facing charges - later dropped - over sending pornographic messages and insulting state ideology.

Tens of thousands of his supporters greeted him on his return last month, many of them ignoring social distancing and other coronavirus protocols. A health ministry official said 95 people who gathered at the airport had subsequently tested positive for coronavirus .

Indonesia's daily death toll hit a high of 175 on Friday. The country has recorded 18,650 deaths since the start of the outbreak, with more than 611,000 infections.

(Writing by Stanley Widianto; Editing by Helen Popper, Matthew Tostevin and Mike Harrison)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Elon Musk leaves behind Amazon's Bezos to become world's richest person - Bloomberg News
Business

Elon Musk leaves behind Amazon's Bezos to become world's richest person - Bloomberg News

(Reuters) -Tesla Inc chief and billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk surpassed Amazon.com Inc's top boss Jeff Bezos to become the world's richest man, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday.

Daimler starting year with optimism after strong finish to 2020 - CEO
Business

Daimler starting year with optimism after strong finish to 2020 - CEO

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Daimler is starting the year with optimism after a strong finish to 2020, Chief Executive Ola Kaellenius said on Thursday, adding that sales in the fourth quarter had continued the strong trend seen in the preceding three months.

Oil hits 11-month highs on Saudi cuts, shrugs off U.S. unrest
Business

Oil hits 11-month highs on Saudi cuts, shrugs off U.S. unrest

By Laura Sanicola NEW YORK (Reuters) -Oil prices edged higher on Thursday, hitting 11-month peaks as markets remained focused on Saudi Arabia's unexpected pledge to deepen its oil cuts and firmer equities, shrugging off political unrest in the United States. Brent crude rose 18 cents to $54.48 a barrel by 1:32 p.m. EST (1832 GMT) after touching $54.90, a high not seen since before the first COVID-19 lockdowns in the West.