Marguerite Afra Sapiie, Jakarta – The government says it has not intervened in a pornography investigation involving Islam Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab, which was ended recently.
"There wasn't any intervention from us. It is [the police's] jurisdiction," President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said on Thursday.
The National Police recently dropped the investigation into the case, in which the firebrand cleric was allegedly involved in sexually explicit WhatsApp chats with a female friend. The conversation included some nude pictures uploaded to the website baladacintarizieq.com.
The police cited a lack of evidence as a reason for discontinuing the investigation, saying they could not find the owner of the now-defunct website. They decided to drop the case following a case screening.
Rizieq, one of Jokowi's staunchest critics, had been charged by the police with violating the 2008 Pornography Law in May 2017. By that time Rizieq had fled to Saudi Arabia and refused to return to Indonesia, despite several police summonses.
In 2016, Rizieq was among several figures and members of Islamic groups who participated in a Dec. 2 rally, dubbed "212", which called for the prosecution of then-Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama for blasphemy.
Jokowi met with so-called 212 alumni in a closed-door meeting in April. The President said it had only been a silaturahmi (friendly gathering); however, members of the group claimed that during the meeting, they had discussed with Jokowi legal proceedings against clerics, which they believed were attempts of criminalization. (evi)