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Indonesia: Rizieq Shihab jailed for concealing COVID test results | Coronavirus pandemic news

Despite the COVID-19 test positive, the court still imprisoned a hardline leader of a banned religious group, claiming that he was healthy.

The Indonesian court sentenced hard-line religious leader Rizieq Shihab to another four years in prison for spreading false information about the results of his COVID-19 test.

The verdict on Thursday was in May in the same court that sentenced Rizieq, the leader of the Defence of Islam Front (FPI), to eight months in prison for violating the coronavirus at several mass events including his daughter’s wedding. Virus restriction measures, thousands of people attended the wedding. people.

The prosecutor requested a six-year prison sentence in the most recent case.

Rizieq posted a video on YouTube claiming that although he tested positive for COVID-19, he was still healthy, so he was accused of spreading false information. At that time, the 55-year-old was receiving treatment at Umi Hospital in Bogor, outside the Indonesian capital of Jakarta.

People gather in Jakarta to support Rizieq Shihab’s demonstration [Willy Kurniawan/ Reuters]
The demonstration was held in front of the East Jakarta Court with hundreds of people participating [Willy Kurniawan/ Reuters]

The prosecutor said that given that Rizieq participated in multiple events involving thousands of people, the false statements about his health that he broadcasted on several news networks and spread widely on social media put the community at risk.

Indonesia’s coronavirus cases exceeded the 2 million mark on Monday as the authorities announced tightening of restrictions to curb the spread in the world’s fourth most populous country. The total number of deaths from COVID-19 is now 55,594.

Judge Khadwanto said in his judgment on Thursday that Rizieq was guilty of “publishing false information and deliberately causing confusion to the public.” The judge also ordered the deduction of the time he has served his sentence from his sentence.

Soon after, the religious leader told the court that he had rejected his ruling and would challenge it.

Rizieq has been detained since December 13.

The court also sentenced Rizieq’s son-in-law Hanif Alatas (Hanif Alatas) to two years in prison for his accomplice.

Before the sentencing, hundreds of Rizieq supporters gathered outside the East Jakarta Court. The police later fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse followers who tried to approach the court.

Supporters of Rizieq Shihab reacted to Jakarta police firing tear gas and water cannons [Zaenuddin/AFP]

Hundreds of people who refused to leave were detained.

Supporters of Rizieq and the legal team stated that these cases were politically motivated and aimed to silence the religious leader, who has a large following in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country.

He returned from self-exile in Saudi Arabia last year, where he faced accusations of pornography and insulting national ideology, both of which were subsequently dropped.

After returning home, he called for a “moral revolution” in Indonesia, which intensified tensions with the government.

The government banned FPI in December, saying that it had no legal basis for operating as a civil organization and that its activities often violated the law and caused public disorder.

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