Wed, 09 Jul 2003

FPI leader can't stomach prison food

JAKARTA: The Central Jakarta District Court adjourned a court session to hear the prosecutors' sentence request against the absent Islam Defenders Front (FPI) chairman Habib Rizieq Shihab, as he was suffering from symptoms of food poisoning.

"We ask the court to take the defendant out of prison so he can be hospitalized," prosecutor Hasan Basrie made his appeal to the panel of judges on Tuesday.

The prosecutors also asked for the court's approval to exclude the duration of the treatment from the detention period.

Presiding Judge Herry Swantoro gave the approval and adjourned the hearing until next week.

Held at Salemba Prison in Central Jakarta since April 20, Rizieq had always appeared at court for his trial, which started in early May.

He is being tried for allegedly insulting authorities and instigating a string of attacks on entertainment spots in the city in the past few years, as well as resisting arrest and breaching Articles 154 and 160 of the Criminal Code.

If found guilty, Rizieq could face a maximum seven-year jail term. -- JP