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Police question 212 Rally leader over alleged illegal campaigning

Jakarta Post - February 7, 2019

Ganug Nugroho Adi, Surakarta – The Surakarta Resort Police questioned on Thursday Slamet Ma'arif, the chairman of an organization calling itself 212 Rally Alumni after, over allegations that he had violated the Election Law for campaigning outside the designated campaign period in Surakarta, Central Java, on Jan. 13.

Hundreds of supporters, including 212 Rally Alumni advisor Amien Rais, Muslim Forum (FUI) secretary-general Muhammad Al Khaththath and his lawyer Mahendradatta, flocked to the police headquarters to show their support for Slamet.

Slamet allegedly campaigned for presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto while delivering a speech at an event in January. The Surakarta chapter of the campaign team for incumbent Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and running mate Ma'ruf Amin reported Slamet to the Election Supervisory Body (Bawaslu), which subsequently filed a report with the local police.

His supporter staged a rally in front of the police station on Thursday while holding up the tauhid (core Islamic belief that Allah is the only one true God) flag.

"[Slamet] is a decent law-abiding citizen. He came from Jakarta to fulfill the police's summons. We hope the case will be settled soon," Mahendradatta said.

The lawyer maintained Slamet's innocence, saying that Slamet had attended the Jan. 13 gathering as a 212 rally initiator and did not represent any particular presidential candidate pair.

The 212 rally was a massive protest held on Dec. 12, 2016, which demanded the prosecution of then-Jakarta governor Basuki "BTP" Tjahaja Purnama for insulting Islam. It has been associated with the Prabowo camp.

"Please publish this: Pak Jokowi, what do you want?" Amien Rais told the press.

Surakarta Resort Police detective unit chief Comr. Fadli said there were 13 highlighted points in Bawaslu's investigation report submitted to the police.

"The attachment included a recording of Slamet's speech, in which he called on thousands of participants to vote for a particular candidate," he said.

Slamet could be charged under Article 492 and Article 521 of the 2017 Election Law on illegal campaigning, which carries a maximum sentence of two years' imprisonment. "Slamet is currently just a witness," Fadli said.

The campaign period for presidential and legislative candidates started on Sept. 23, 2018, and will end on April 13. However, the Election Law also stipulates that campaigns involving a large crowd can only be held in the 21 days before the quiet period starts on April 14. The general elections are set to be held on April 17. (swd)

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/02/07/police-question-212-rally-leader-over-alleged-illegal-campaigning.html