The National Police have charged six deceased members of the banned Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) over a deadly shootout in December, which one rights group said constituted unlawful killing by the police.
The National Police’s Crime Investigation Agency (Bareskrim) yesterday announced that the deceased six, who were identified as personal guards to FPI leader Rizieq Shihab, were charged with assault of police officers, which police said triggered the shootout.
However, Bareskrim said posthumous criminal proceedings may go ahead pending an evaluation of the case by prosecutors. Under Indonesia’s Criminal Code (KUHP), criminal charges are void if the defendant dies.
The charges against the slain FPI members were roundly criticized, not least by those associated with the hardline group, who say that the police have rubbed salt on the group’s deep wound.
“This is as cruel as cruel gets. But don’t be so stupid like this,” FPI legal representative Aziz Yanuar said about the charges today.
On Dec. 7, the Jakarta Metro Police said its officers were on their way to investigate a tip that FPI was going to mobilize crowds to prevent authorities from questioning their leader Rizieq Shihab, who had ignored several police summons for investigation related to mass gatherings held in his honor.
The police initially said cars transporting the six FPI guards flanked and crashed into the police car until they all came to a stop. The assailants then attacked the officers with firearms, a katana, and sickles. The officers then returned fire and killed the six guards.
However, amid discrepancies between the police’s account of the incident and those of eyewitnesses, police later updated its chronology of events following a crime scene reconstruction. According to the police, only two were initially killed in the shootout, and the other four were killed in a cop car after they allegedly tried to attack the officers on their way to the police station.
An independent investigation into the incident by the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) concluded that the officers extrajudicially killed the latter four of the guards as they were already in police custody. The National Police say an investigation into the unlawful killings will be launched on the recommendation of Komnas HAM.
The government outlawed FPI in late December over the hardline group’s links to terrorist networks and plethora of controversies in Indonesia.