Officials Fire Local Shariah Police Chief Over Rape Case

Banda Aceh, TAG - Zulkifli Zainon, the mayor of Langsa city in Aceh, officially dismissed the chief of the local Shariah Police, Syahril, on Wednesday over allegations that three of his officers gang-raped a 20-year-old university student.

Syahril, who also acted as the city’s public order chief, was formally removed from his post during an official ceremony on Tuesday. He was replaced by Syahbainur. 

Syahril has been transferred to the office of the Langsa administration, where he will hold no specific position. 

“It was only natural that there would be condemnation and pressure from various public elements, from community leaders, nongovernmental organizations and students, to fire the three [officers] and discharge the head of the public order command and Shariah Police,” Zulkifki said following Tuesday’s ceremony. 

“We in the government must be alert to see and respond to such demands to avoid unwanted consequences,” he said. 

Syahril told the Jakarta Globe on Wednesday that he accepted his dismissal.
“There was a lot of pressure from the public and students to have me fired because of the actions of three of my subordinates,” he said. “I’m responsible for my subordinates’ actions. My dismissal is the consequence and impact of their deed.” 

“Maybe it was my fault, not being able to control the Shariah Police members who committed this savagery,” he added. 

Syahril said the three alleged rapists had not been fired from their contract positions with the Shariah Police, also known as Wilayatul Hisbah, pending a police investigation and a possible trial. 

Syahril said all three suspected rapists were married and had children. Police he said, continued to interrogate two of the suspects, identified only by their initials and ages as FA, 28, and MN, 29. The third suspect, identified as 27-year-old Dedi Setiawan, is still at large. 

Syahril said news of the alleged rape broke after the victim “cried in her mother’s arms and told her she had been raped by three WH members.” 

“The girl’s mother had previously received a call from the police telling her to come to the police station to pick up her daughter,” he said. 

He added that on Jan. 7, the student had been detained with her boyfriend near a traffic circle on the city ring road and the pair were brought in by the three police officers accused of the rape for “interrogation and re-education.” 

“Around dusk the Shariah Police had finished questioning and re-educating them and asked for [the couple’s] address so their parents could be contacted,” Syahril said. “The couple refused to divulge the information, maybe because they were afraid their parents would find out. So they were told to spend the night in different rooms of the office.” 

“Then, early Friday morning, we learned that the officers went back to rape the girl.” 

Despite the scandal, the Shariah Police have continued to conduct patrols across the province, though the frequency of the patrols has been cut back to avoid a public backlash. 

“Now, you cannot see young people hugging their lovers on motorcycles or sitting close together in quiet places. Maybe this rape incident has served as a lesson to teach the public and parents to become more aware of the need to properly educate their children,” Syahril said. 

Asked if the people of Langsa were frightened that members of the Shariah Police might commit similar crimes, Syahril said: “Possibly. But we hope this kind of shameful case will not happen again. My three subordinates have besmirched the name of the WH and the implementation of Islamic Shariah that is being promoted in Aceh.” 

Aceh’s deputy governor, Muhammad Nazar, said on Tuesday that there was no need to disband the province’s Shariah Police because there was no legal obligation to do so. 

Dismissing calls for the Shariah Police to be disbanded over the case, Nazar said that the alleged rape was not the fault of the organization. 

“Just because some individuals do something wrong does not mean the institution should be disbanded,” he said. 

“Those who did wrong simply need to face harsh punishment.”[]
Officials Fire Local Shariah Police Chief Over Rape Case Officials Fire Local Shariah Police Chief Over Rape Case Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on January 21, 2010 Rating: 5

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