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Gerindra back peddles on pledge to bring FPI leader Rizieq Shihab home

Suara.com - October 23, 2019

Reza Gunadha and Novian Ardiansyah – The 212 Alumni Brotherhood (PA 212) is calling on Prabowo Subianto to repatriate Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader Muhammad Rizieq Shihab within 100 days after being inaugurated as the new Defense Minister (Menhan) by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

Not only that, the PA 212 also have several other demands for the former presidential candidate who they backed in the 2019 presidential election.

Responding to this, the chairperson of Prabowo's Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) executive board, Ahmad Riza Patria, said that he hopes that the PA 212 will understand that Prabowo is no longer a presidential candidate.

Moreover, Prabowo's electoral promise of bringing Shihab Rizieq home was dependent upon Prabowo and his vice presidential running mate Sandiaga Uno winning the election.

"But the fact is that he was not elected as president. So on this, regarding all the expectations, the public's demands, they must be able to understand that now Pak [Mr] Prabowo's position is as the Menhan. Of course as the Menhan, he must carry out his duties in accordance with the vision and mission of the elected president's program, namely the program of Pak Jokowi and [Vice President] Ma'ruf Amin", said Patria at the House of Representatives on Wednesday October 23.

Patria emphasised that the selection of Prabowo as defense minister does not automatically mean that he can fulfill the PA 212's demands, because the repatriation of Shihab is not the authority or duty of Prabowo through the Ministry of Defense.

"In relation to the Alumni 212's request to return Habib Rizieq, this is of course the job of the related ministry, the Kemenlu [Foreign Affairs Department] is responsible for all WNI [Indonesian citizens] abroad. Then there is the Kemenkumham [Ministry of Justice and Human Rights] which is responsible for the legal problems of all WNI overseas. This is not the defense minister's job", said Patria.

Prabowo, he continued, cannot of course intervene in other ministries in order to bring Shihab home.

"So I think, I'm sure that whatever is decided on by the government, including in the context of reconciliation, of course we will target a resolution to the matter of Habib Rizieq in Saudi Arabia".

The PA 212 is demanding that Prabowo listen to their aspirations in relation to the problems that they are facing.

This ranges from fully investigating the electoral officials who died on the job during the April 17 presidential and legislative elections and those killed during the university and high-school student demonstrations against revisions to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Law in late September.

In addition to this, the PA 212 is also asking for an end to legal proceedings or an SP3 (Order to Stop Investigation) in the cases involving ulama (Islamic leaders), activists and ordinary people.

Then they are also asking for the repatriation of Shihab as promised by Prabowo during his election campaign.


Fugitive FPI leader Rizieq Shihab has been hiding in Saudi Arabia for more than a year. Although police have dropped the charges related to an infamous pornography case that first led him to flee the country, he has numerous legal cases pending against him including charges of blasphemy against Christianity and state symbols. During the 2019 presidential election, presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto promised to personally fly to Saudi Arabia in his private jet and bring Shihab home if he won the election.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "PA 212 Minta Prabowo Pulangkan Habib Rizieq, Gerindra: Bukan Tugas Menhan".]

Source: https://www.suara.com/news/2019/10/23/203405/pa-212-minta-prabowo-pulangkan-habib-rizieq-gerindra-bukan-tugas-menhan