Author Topic: Cablegate 2008 - Indonesia:Islamic Extremist Charged with Inciting Hatred  (Read 945 times)

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Offline mayya

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ISLAMIC EXTREMIST CHARGED WITH INCITING HATRED
Date:
2008 August 22, 07:55 (Friday)
Canonical ID:
08JAKARTA1593_a
Original Classification:
CONFIDENTIAL
Current Classification:
CONFIDENTIAL
Handling Restrictions:
-- Not Assigned --
Character Count:
4625
Executive Order:
-- Not Assigned --
Locator:
TEXT ONLINE
TAGS:
ID - Indonesia | KIRF - International Religious Freedom | KISL - Islamic Issues | PGOV - Political Affairs--Government; Internal Governmental Affairs | PINS - Political Affairs--Internal Security
Concepts:
-- Not Assigned --
Enclosure:
-- Not Assigned --
Type:
TE
Office Origin:
-- N/A or Blank --


Office Action:
-- N/A or Blank --
Archive Status:
-- Not Assigned --
From:
Indonesia Jakarta
Markings:
-- Not Assigned --
To:
Australia Canberra | Australia Perth| Bangladesh Dhaka | Central Intelligence Agency | China Beijing |China Hong Kong | Defense Intelligence Agency | India New Delhi| Islamic Collective | Japan Tokyo |National Security Council | New Zealand Wellington | Papua New Guinea Port Moresby | Secretary of State | Sri Lanka Colombo | The Association of Southeast Asian Nations


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B. 02 JAKARTA
 9193 JAKARTA 00001593 001.2 OF 002 Classified By: Pol/C Joseph L. Novak, reasons 1.4(b+d). 


1. (C) SUMMARY: A well-known militant has been put on trail in Jakarta. Islamic extremist Rizieq Shihab was charged on August 21 with inciting hostility and fomenting assault during a June 1 incident in which militants attacked a peaceful rally in Jakarta. Dozens of FPI members filled the courtroom, yelling out in support for Shihab who asserted his innocence. Human rights groups are closely monitoring the case. The charges are a welcome indication that Indonesia is willing to clamp down on Islamic extremists. 

END SUMMARY. 

TRIAL OF EXTREMIST BEGINS 

2. (SBU) Charges have been brought against a well-known Islamic extremist. On August 21, Islamic Defender's Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab was charged with fomenting assault and battery and inciting hostility by urging his followers to attack an interfaith rally on June 1 (see reftels). (Note: The FPI is a small, but active Islamic extremist group that has been implicated in other incidents in recent years--see below.) If convicted, Shihab faces up to five to six years in prison. 

3. (SBU) During the hearing, a witness testified that Shihab delivered a speech on May 28 asking his followers to wage "war" against the minority Muslim sect Ahmaddiyah. The witness said this speech incited the FPI members to attack the rally, injuring 70 activists from the National Alliance for Freedom of Religion and Faith (AKK-BB), an interfaith group. The group had gathered at the Monas National Monument in central Jakarta in support of religious pluralism. 

4. (SBU) Shihab vociferously denied the charges, claiming he was not at the rally when the attack occurred, and that his speeches did not incite FPI members to resort to violence. Dozens of FPI members filled the courtroom, yelling out in support for Shihab. On August 21, prior to the court hearing, FPI members gathered at the city police headquarters, demanding the release of Shihab and Islam Troop Command leader Munarman--also implicated in the attack. (Note: The Islamic Troop Command is another extremist grouping.) The national police have identified five additional suspects who remain at large and said they would conduct a thorough investigation into who else may have organized the violence. 

HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS MONITOR CASE 

5. (C) Indonesia's human rights community is closely monitoring the case. While praising the bringing of the court case, Anick HT, Director of the Indonesian Conference on Religion and Peace (ICRP) and AKK-BB Coordinator, told poloff that Irvan Tanjung, another FPI leader, had inadvertently revealed the scope of Shihab's involvement in the incident during a public speech. Anick also said that AKK-BB would closely monitor the hearings and organize support for the judges presiding over the case. Anick said he was concerned the judges could be intimidated, particularly by the large presence of FPI members in the courtroom. He added that he was disappointed that Shihab had not been charged with hiding suspects immediately following the arrests last June. 


A WELCOME STEP 

6. (C) This is not the first time that Shihab has been charged with inciting violence. In August 2003, he was convicted and sentenced to seven months in prison for a string of attacks on Jakarta bars and nightclubs in late 2002 (see ref b). After Shihab served his sentence, the FPI toned JAKARTA 00001593 002.2 OF 002 down its violent activities and greatly reduced its vigilante actions. However, there has been an increase in incendiary language and violent actions by the group over recent months. 

7. (C) The case is a welcome step. The Indonesian police came under criticism for failing to stop the attack and for not making arrests on the day of the incident. To his credit, President Yudhoyono immediately called on the police to be more professional in handling demonstrations and promised that the perpetrators would be brought to justice. While the exact direction and result of the case are unclear, the swift charges brought against Shihab are a positive indication that the GOI wants to send a strong signal to hard-liners. HUME


https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/08JAKARTA1593_a.html