Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab is not be the only high-ranking member of the hardline group being investigated by the authorities for allegedly insulting state leaders.
The National Police have announced that they will investigate allegations made against FPI Spokesman Munarman after a viral video of him insulting President Joko Widodo surfaced online recently.
“We will surely carry out an investigative process, based on this information (the viral video) or any other information that comes up later on,” said National Police Spokesman Martinus Sitompul, as quoted by Tempo yesterday.
The video, which is available on various video sharing websites like Youtube, shows Munarman repeatedly calling the president “dongok” (idiotic) during a sermon a couple of months ago. He even said that he was aware he was breaking the law by doing so, yet he challenged the authorities to come and arrest him.
According to Indonesia’s Criminal Code (KUHP), insulting the president is a crime punishable by up to 18 months in prison.
Since evidence for Munarman’s alleged crime was circulated online, he may also be charged with violating defamation laws within the Information and Electronic Transactions Act (UU ITE). For that reason, Munarman’s case can’t technically process it unless Jokowi or somebody else who felt insulted by the FPI spokesman’s words formally reported him to the police.
Despite that, Martunis said the police are still going to pre-emptively investigate the case to determine whether or not Munarman’s sermon broke the law.
Previously, Munarman was questioned by the Bali Police on January 30 for allegedly spreading lies about the pecalang, the island’s traditional Hindu security guards, who he said were preventing Balinese Muslims from performing Friday prayer.