Police arrested Islam Defenders Front leader Rizieq Shihab’s lawyer, Munarman, in a raid this week.
Police arrested Islam Defenders Front leader Rizieq Shihab’s lawyer, Munarman, in a raid on his house in Jakarta’s satellite city of Tangerang after interrogating scores of suspected militants detained after an attack outside a Roman Catholic cathedral during Palm Sunday Mass last month.
Munarman, who goes by one name, was the general secretary of the now-defunct Islam Defenders Front, widely known by the Indonesian acronym FPI, which was once on the political fringes and has a long record of vandalizing nightspots, hurling stones at Western embassies and attacking rival religious groups. It wants Islamic Shariah law to apply to Indonesia’s 230 million Muslims.
“He is accused of an evil conspiracy to carry out acts of terror,” National Police spokesperson Argo Yuwono said in a statement. He said Munarman incited people to commit radical acts and hid information about terrorism from authorities.
Police are still investigating his house in Tangerang and the disbanded FPI’s headquarters in central Jakarta, where they seized chemicals for use in explosives, Ahmad Ramadhan, another police spokesman, said in a news conference late Tuesday.
The government banned FPI in December, saying it had no legal grounds to operate as a civil organization and that its activities often violated the law and caused public disorder. Police arrested Shihab, the group’s founder and chairman, on charges of inciting people to breach pandemic restrictions by holding events with large crowds.
Munarman, a former human rights lawyer before joining FPI, has been one of Shihab’s lawyers since the firebrand cleric’s trial in East Jakarta District Court began last month.