FPI Head Faces Jail for Ramadan Cafe Attacks

By webadmin on 10:30 pm Jan 05, 2012
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Rahmat

Makassar. Prosecutors are seeking a 10-month jail term for the leader of a hard-line Islamic group that smashed up restaurants in the South Sulawesi capital during the fasting month.

Abdul Rahman, the head of the provincial branch of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), is on trial for damaging restaurants on Jalan A.P. Pettaranti last August and assaulting the owner of one of the eateries.

Three restaurants were trashed by the self-styled moral crusaders, who were outraged that they were open and serving food in the middle of the day during Ramadan, when most Muslims were fasting.

Prosecutors on Wednesday also demanded eight-month sentences for two other defendants, Riswandi Abubakar and Ariffudion, both FPI members. The trial at the Makassar District Court is scheduled to resume next week.

The three have been charged under Articles 170 and 351 of the Criminal Code for destruction of private property and assault. The charges carry a maximum prison sentence of five years.

“The defendants are accused of abusing and assaulting the owner of Warung Coto and another restaurant on Jalan A.P. Pettarani, Makassar, in August,” the indictment reads.

Abdul has also been named a suspect in an attack on the Ahmadiyah sect that same month.

Members of the LPI, a unit of the FPI, smashed windows at the Indonesian Ahmadiyah Congregation (JAI) complex, including at a mosque, and damaged a car and a motorcycle.

The mob, estimated at 30 to 50 people, also attacked Ahmad, the lone guard at the complex, and two paralegals from the Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) who attempted to stop the attack.

None of the three suffered serious injuries. LPI members also scuffled with riot police sent to restore order.

Police say Abdul did not take part in the attack on the Ahmadiyah complex but incited it, for which he could face up to six years in prison.

The attack was part of a rampage that started on a Saturday night and lasted until the next morning. It included shutting down restaurants operating during the fasting month.