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Use of force in deadly FPI shooting must be independently investigated

Responding to the police’s fatal shooting of at least six supporters of Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader, Muhammad Rizieq Shihab, Amnesty International Indonesia Executive Director Usman Hamid said today:

“Police must be open and transparent about the incident and what led to the use of firearms against the supporters of FPI leader Muhammad Rizieq Shihab. The incident should be independently investigated and if the police officers violated international standards regarding the use of force and firearms, they should be brought to justices.

“It must be made clear whether the officers involved clearly identified themselves as law enforcement officials and issued any warning before opening fire and whether the use of firearms was justified. Police should only use force, especially firearms, as a last resort in extreme situations to protect themselves or others against the imminent threat of death or serious injury Unlawful use of force by police is never allowed.

Background

According to National Police spokesperson Insp. Gen. Argo Yuwono, a group of police officers were following a convoy of followers of FPI leader Muhammad Rizieq Shihab on the Jakarta-Cikampek highway the early hours of Monday, 7 December 2020. Argo said the police were investigating reports that Rizieq’s followers were planning to stage a demonstration during Rizieq’s scheduled interrogation by police regarding alleged COVID-19 health protocol violations.

Argo said that at around 12:30 AM, two of the convoy’s cars suddenly drove alongside the police car and forced it to stop. The Rizieq supporters inside the car allegedly pointed firearms and sharp weapons at the officers. The officers then opened fire, resulting in the deaths of at least six of the Rizieq supporters.

The FPI has also issued a statement about the incident, saying that Rizieq’s convoy was stopped by a group of “unidentified parties” who then shot at FPI members who were acting as Rizieq’s bodyguards. In a press conference on Monday afternoon, FPI spokesperson Munarman confirmed that six FPI members were shot and killed by police.