Among the many criminal investigations Rizieq Shihab, the leader of the hardline Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), is currently facing, none are as salacious as the one involving his alleged sex scandal with a woman named Firza Hussein.
Earlier this year, a website called “baladacintarizieq”(Rizieq’s tale of love) mysteriously appeared online featuring a collection of supposedly leaked information (including audio recordings, chat logs and photographs) purporting to detail an adulterous affair between Rizieq and Firza. The leader of the hardline group dismissed the information as slanderous lies and FPI promised to report whoever was behind it to the police.
Nevertheless, a police investigation into the allegations continues to move forward ahead after a group called the “Anti-Pornography Student Alliance” (a bit of an oxymoron, we know) filed a criminal report against the people behind the leak for creating and spreading pornography.
Rizieq and Firza were summoned for questioning by the Jakarta Metro Police on Tuesday but both failed to attend, with the former citing he had previous engagements while the latter said she was sick. But the police have since released a public statement strongly suggesting that the two are indeed implicated in the scandal based on evidence indicating the nude photos of Firza included in the leak are authentic.
“There are 16 points and curves [on the body of the woman in the nude photos] that undeniably belong to Firza in this case. Forensics will later investigate further,” said Jakarta Metro Police Chief Inspector General M Iriawan, as quoted by Detik yesterday.
Despite Firza previously denying that she is the woman in the photos, Iriawan said there is sufficient evidence to counter her denial. He referenced the infamous 2010 pornograpy case against musician Ariel in which police also used forensic evidence to counter denials from those who allegedly participated in the leaked sex tapes.
Indonesia’s anti-porn laws do not criminalize adults who privately, and with consent, create pornographic material for personal use. As such, those who leaked the material to the public are more likely to be punished should the leaked materials prove authentic, while Rizieq and Firza would simply be considered victims of their crime. That said, such an outcome would irrevocably destroy Rizieq’s reputation as the head of the Islamist hardliner group, which had previously declared that Ariel should be stoned for adultery.
Police have issued further summons for Rizieq and Firza to appear for questioning at a later unspecified date.