Jakarta – Indonesian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Agus Maftuh Abegebriel said Islam Defenders Front (FPI) head Rizieq Shihab would have to pay a hefty fine for overstaying in the Middle Eastern country before he could be allowed to return to Indonesia.
"He would have to pay the fine for staying longer than he was allowed in the country. Saudis calls the fine 'gharamah'," Agus said on Wednesday, as quoted by kompas.com.
He went on to say that Rizieq would not be able to return to Indonesia without first paying the overstay fine. Furthermore, he said Rizieq's multiple-entry visa had expired last year.
In accordance with the law, Rizieq should have flown back to his home country to update his multiple-entry visa every three months, he added.
Agus estimated that Rizieq would have to pay an overstay fine of Rp 110 million (US$7,099) per person. According to the Indonesian Embassy in Saudi Arabia, Rizieq had been staying in the country with four other people.
However, Agus said he could not be certain whether the four people were Rizieq's relatives or simply bodyguards. "Either way, he has to pay Rp 110 million per person. Multiply the sum by five if there are five overstayers," he said.
Before leaving for Mecca, Saudi Arabia to go on umrah (minor haj) in 2017, the firebrand cleric was charged in connection with a pornography case and for insulting Pancasila. The police dropped both charges last year, but the FPI leader has remained in the Islamic holy city despite his visa having expired in July 2018.
The government had offered to assist his return, but he remained in the city throughout the last election campaign season and the polling day in April.
Gerindra Party secretary-general Ahmad Muzani previously said Rizieq's return was one of former presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto's terms for reconciliation with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo after April's polarizing presidential election. Prabowo was the presidential candidate supported by the 212 Movement of conservative Muslims led by Rizieq. (rfa)