Police Request Travel Ban on Firza, Suspect in FPI Cleric's Porn Scandal i

Firza Husein arrives at the Jakarta Metropolitan Police Headquarters on Tuesday (16/05) to be interrogated. (Antara Photo/Galih Pradipta)

By : Bayu Marhaenjati | on 12:14 PM May 19, 2017
Category : News, Crime

Jakarta. Police said they made a request to the Immigration Office on Thursday (18/05) to impose a travel ban on Firza Husein, a suspect in a pornography scandal that allegedly implicates a famous firebrand cleric from the Islamic Defenders Front, or FPI, Rizieq Shihab.

Investigators have decided not to place Firza in custody but she would likely be prevented from traveling abroad for the next six months, police said.

"We've sent the [travel ban] request today to prevent her from traveling overseas," Jakarta Police spokesman Chief Comr. Argo Yuwono said at his office.

Police named Firza a suspect on Tuesday following hours of questioning. But after another interrogation session the next day, they decided not to hold her in custody for health reasons.

Firza's lawyer, Aziz Yanuar, said his client has been cooperative throughout the police investigation. A travel ban would be cruel and unnecessary, he added.

"That's not necessary. There has been no indication that she might flee," Azis said.

Firza, who could face at least five years behind bars, allegedly sent nude pictures of herself to Rizieq in WhatsApp chats with the FPI leader.

Screenshots of the chats were later leaked and went viral on social media.

Both Firza and Rizieq are being charged with Indonesia's pornography law which imposes a minimum sentence of five years.

Rizieq himself has already gone out of the country, reportedly to avoid investigation. Police saying he is currently in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, or at an undisclosed location in Malaysia.

Rizieq has failed to meet two police summonses and his lawyer said he is not likely to come home to face investigation. Investigators issued an arrest warrant on Monday in an attempt to bring him back to the country by force.

Firza and Rizieq's porn scandal is considered by many to be similar to an earlier scandal in 2010 which involved rock star Nazriel Irham, better known as Ariel, and his girlfriends, actress Luna Maya and TV presenter Cut Tari.

The 2010 case was considered a landmark case in the implementation of the 2008 pornography law — known as the "Porno Aksi" law, or "porn action" — which includes restriction on the production of porn, as well as on showing and distributing content that contains explicit nudity and/or pornographic acts (including masturbation).

The Democratic Party, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and the Crescent Star Party (PBB) are among the parties who passed the law in 2008 despite rejection from many, especially from traditional and arts communities.

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