Katharina Reny Lestari – The leader of an Islamic extremist group in Indonesia has been arrested and faces treason charges in connection with the recent staging of a "subversive" motorcycle rally calling for an Islamic caliphate.
Abdul Qadir Hasan Baraja of Jamaah Khilafatul Muslimin was arrested a day after three leading members of the same group were arrested and charged with treason for taking part in the rally.
More than 40 motorcyclists took part in the rally in Brebes district of Central Java province on May 29, during which they handed out leaflets calling for an end to Indonesia's secular society and the setting up of a caliphate following Sharia law.
A similar rally was held the same day in Jakarta when dozens of motorcyclists in green uniforms carried placards with messages that read "Welcome the Awakening of the Islamic Caliphate."
Central Java police spokesman Iqbal Alqudusy said on June 6 that the three charged people, who were not named, organized the rally.
He said Jamaah Khilafatul Muslimin was an offshoot of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), an extremist organization banned in 2017 for also calling for a caliphate.
Since doing so contravenes the national ideology Pancasila and the 1945 constitution, these actions can be interpreted as treasonous, Alqudusy said.
Pancasila is seen by Indonesians as a unifying belief as it encompasses all religions and people. It stipulates a belief in one God, a just and civilized society, a united Indonesia, a democracy guided by consensus, and social justice for all. Those seeking to undermine the ideology are looked upon as trying to do away with Indonesia's secular system and threatening religious minorities such as Catholics.
Alqudusy said the suspects could face up to 15 years in prison if found guilty.
Baraja, meanwhile, was arrested on June 7 in central Java and taken to Jakarta for questioning about the rallies and could face the same charges, police said.
He is a former member of the Indonesian Islamic State group and served 13 years in prison for his involvement in a 1995 bomb attack in East Java province.