Jakarta – One soldier from the Indonesian Army and one from the Air Force are facing punishment after voicing their support for Rizieq Shihab, the controversial leader of the Islam Defenders Front (FPI), in viral videos in conjunction with the firebrand cleric's return from self-exile in Saudi Arabia.
The Army soldier, who was later identified as Second Cpl. Asyari Tri Yudha, expressed his support for Rizieq in a video that he recorded on Tuesday. It shows several Indonesian Military (TNI) personnel sitting in the back of a moving military truck.
Behind the camera, Asyari says, "On my way to the airport to prepare to provide security for the [arrival of] the great Imam Rizieq Shihab. We are with you Rizieq Shihab."
In another video, a man wearing an Indonesian Air Force uniform recorded himself singing a song to welcome the controversial cleric. "Welcome, leader of the FPI. greetings from a TNI soldier. Welcome, welcome Rizieq Shihab," sang the soldier, who has been identified as Chief Sgt. BDS.
Both videos went viral on social media on Tuesday.
Jakarta Military Command acting spokesperson Col. Inf. Refki Efriandana Edward said that based on the command's investigation, Asyari had violated a military discipline regulation stipulated in Article 9 of Law No. 25/2014 by publicly disseminating information about his duty to guard vital objects.
"He will be put in detention for a maximum of 14 days," Refki said, as quoted by kompas.com on Thursday.
The military also suspended Asyari's promotion for six months and his education for up to a year.
Refki added that the sanctions were not related to Asyari's expression of support for Rizieq, claiming that what the soldier had said in the video was spontaneous.
"He's supposed to keep the confidentiality of his assignment and not reveal it to the public," Refki said.
Air Force spokesperson Fajar Adriyanto said BDS had been in the custody of the Air Force Military Police since Wednesday and was under investigation.
The Air Force Military Police suspected BDS of having violated a general order to use social media wisely from TNI commander Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto and Air Force chief of staff Air Chief Marshal Fadjar Prasetyo.
"We're investigating the incident. The soldier in the video could face sanctions for violating commands," Fajar said on Wednesday, as reported by Kompas TV.
Rizieq returned to Indonesia on Tuesday to a crowd of thousands of supporters at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, and another at the FPI headquarters in Petamburan. The cleric had spent more than three years in Saudi Arabia.
The FPI leader was embroiled in several legal cases when he fled the country in 2017. The two most infamous cases in which the National Police had named him a suspect were a pornography case and a case about allegedly insulting Pancasila, Indonesia's state ideology. The police have dropped their investigations of both cases. (nal)