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Palace responds to Rizieq Shihab's claim about his return

Tempo - November 11, 2019

Fikri Arigi, Jakarta – The Palace balked at commenting the statement conveyed by the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab who said that Indonesian government demanded Saudi Arabia to ban him from returning to Jakarta.

The spokesman for President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, Fadjroel Rachman, told the press to ask other issues. "Just ask other issues," said Fadjroel before reporters at Kalibata Heroes Cemetery Park, Jakarta, Sunday, November 10.

Previously, Rizieq claimed that he could not return as he was barred from exiting Saudi Arabia. The cleric showed two files he claimed as the prohibition letter.

"These two letters are the real, authentic evidence that I am banned [to return] by the Saudi Arabia government as requested by the Indonesian government," said Rizieq during a teleconference with FPI as uploaded to the FPI YouTube channel, Front TV.

Rizieq Shihab said that the first document was the copy of his visa, and the second one was the prohibition letter. He read the letters aloud, saying the ban was due to security reasons.

According to him, Indonesian government did not want him to return, especially during the 2019 presidential election. He said that he could be a threat to the government as he could halt the election fraud.

Saudi Arabian government, he went on, could revoke the ban at any time should there was an assurance from the Indonesian government that he would not be disturbed if he returned to his homeland. Albeit he had stressed that he would be safe, Rizieq said that the Saudi Arabian government was still in doubt.

Rizieq Shihab was still living in Mecca, Saudi Arabia since mid-2017 after he was incriminated in a pornography case. He did not come back to Indonesia, albeit the police dropped the case in June 2018.

The government had denied that there was an attempt to ban the cleric from returning to Indonesia.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1270789/palace-responds-to-rizieq-shihabs-claim-about-his-return