Indonesian prisons banned group hardline leader for non-compliance with COVID | Coronavirus pandemic news

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Rizieq Shihab was convicted of multiple breaches, including the daughter’s wedding, which was attended by thousands of people.

An Indonesian court has jailed religious leader Rizieq Shihab for eight months and fined him 20 million Indonesian rupiah ($ 1,400) for holding sermons and other meetings that drew tens of thousands of followers to breach the country’s coronavirus rules. after his return last year -forced exile.

The prison sentence comes several months after Indonesia prohibited Rizieq Islamic Defending Front (FPI) after an armed battle in which police shot dead his followers.

The East Jakarta court found on Thursday that Rizieq violated Indonesia’s health quarantine law by urging supporters to attend sermons, celebrate the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad and marry his daughter. All this attracted thousands of people in a country that has suffered the worst outbreak of COVID-19 in Southeast Asia.

“The accused has been found guilty of violating health protocols,” Judge Suparman Nyompa said at the hearing. Rizieq was also fined for an act held at an Islamic boarding school in West Java.

A live broadcast of the court hearing showed Rizieq dressed in a white robe, a turban and a face mask, caught in the prayer balls.

He has been arrested since his sentence in December and the court said his prison sentence would be reduced to three months to take into account the time already served.

Five other senior REIT members received eight months in prison for organizing the mass rallies.

Security was tight in the East Jakarta court to ensure supporters were at a distance. About two dozen people were briefly arrested, local media reported [Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana/Reuters]

About 3,000 police officers were deployed to protect the court before the verdict, but there were no major protests from its supporters. Local media said nearly two dozen people were briefly arrested.

Rizieq returned to Indonesia in November after three years in Saudi Arabia, where he had fled while facing charges of pornography and insulting state ideology. Both charges were later withdrawn.

Thousands of his followers had taken to the airport to celebrate his return and then joined crowded events in the days that followed, although the rules limited the size of the meetings.

His legal team had claimed the cases were politically motivated and were part of efforts to silence the Muslim leader, who has broad and vocal follow-up.

Shihab, who has served time in prison in the past, including for an attack by FPI members at an interfaith rally in 2008, denied the latest charges and said he could appeal.

He was arrested shortly afterwards Jakarta police shot dead six FPI supporters in a road shooting battle which authorities described as an act of self-defense, a claim the group discussed.

The REIT has become politically influential in Indonesia in recent years and was part of several hard-line religious groups that organized rallies in 2016 to overthrow the then-Christian governor of Jakarta accused of blasphemy. Mass protests against the governor caused deep anxiety in the government of President Joko Widodo over a perceived threat.

Indonesia banned the hardline group last year.





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