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Home Worldwide Indonesia September, 2008 Monas attack …
Monas attack hearings turn ugly

Headline News September 23, 2008 

Monas attack hearings turn ugly

Indah Setiawati, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

All three hearings related to the ambush at the National Monument (Monas) park were cut short Monday after two defendants refused to appear and a witness in the third hearing was assaulted.

Islam Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab and Islam Command Troop leader Munarman protested to the Central Jakarta District Court because a witness from the Ahmadiyah religious community – which they dubbed heretical – swore on the Koran before testifying in a hearing last week.

Presiding judge Panusunan Harahap said the trials would be adjourned to Thursday to hear the witnesses scheduled for Monday.

“I hope the prosecutors can bring the defendant to the next hearing,” he said during the hearing of the Rizieq case.

On June 1, activists from the National Alliance for Freedom of Faith and Religion (AKKBB) who were taking part in a peaceful rally in a show of support for the Ahmadiyah community, were ambushed and assaulted by supporters of the two hard-line Islamic groups.

Panusunan warned the court audience, mostly FPI supporters, to behave or force the trials to be conducted in closed sessions.

A separate trial of seven FPI members turned ugly after one of them attacked a witness and victim of the ambush, right after the latter had finished testifying.

“When I was walking out to the witness room, one of the seven defendants kicked my leg, and I promptly told the judge about it,” M. Guntur Romli of the AKKBB said.

While speaking with the judge, another defendant struck Romli’s head.

“All of a sudden, the FPI supporters in the courtroom were chasing me. I was protected by my friend, Soleh, who also got hit,” Romli said.

FPI member Adi Tubagus M. Sidiq was quoted as saying by that Guntur provoked the attack by kicking one of the defendants’ chairs and saying the FPI would be disbanded.

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