Sect leader appoints 50 defense lawyers

JAKARTA: After much lobbying by lawyers and sympathizers, Lia Aminudin, leader of the controversial sect Kingdom of Eden, accepted an offer on Thursday to be represented by 50 lawyers.

Lia’s religious teachings have been declared heresy by several Muslim clerics, including Minister of Religious Affairs Maftuh Basyuni. She was charged with causing public unrest and detained by the Jakarta Police on Dec. 29.

The head of her new defense team, Saor Siagiaan, said, “Lia has appointed us as her legal defense team. The team consists of 50 lawyers from several law firms, as well as several sympathizers.”

According to Saor, Lia hesitated to take the offer of legal representation when he met with her last week, and asked that the lawyers undergo “purification” before representing her.

“We acknowledge that only she can defend herself against allegations that she misrepresented the teachings of certain religious beliefs,” said Saor.

In her writings, Lia urges her followers to absolve themselves of all sins by setting themselves ablaze using methanol.

“Apparently, what she meant by purification was not what we thought,” said Saor.

“She explained she meant that the lawyers should be honest, free of bribery, have total commitment, expect nothing in return and be sincere. That was all she asked of us.”

Saor said it was Lia herself who selected the 50 lawyers to represent her. “The number could increase. So many lawyers are sympathizers,” he said.

Asked what their plans were for the defense, Saor said they were going to examine all of the documents regarding the arrest of their client.

“Our client told us that the police never presented a warrant for her arrest and detention,” Saor said.

Refuting Lia’s statement, the head of the Jakarta Police’s general crimes unit, Adj. Sr. Comr. Tomsy Tohir, said “all the documents are complete”.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Jakarta Post, Indonesia
Jan. 16, 2006

Religion News Blog posted this on Monday January 16, 2006.
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