A man in Jakarta’s satellite city of Bekasi was beaten by an angry mob and burned alive for allegedly stealing speakers from a mosque on Wednesday at around 5:30 pm.
The 30-year-old man identified by police by his initials MA, was seen leaving Musala Al Hidayah in Bekasi’s Urip Jaya Village with three speakers.
Accusing him of stealing the speakers from the mosque, police say people in the area started chasing MA, who tried to get away on a motorcycle and even swam across a river to try and get away from the angry crowd.
But according to the police, he was eventually hit by a rock in the head and suffered a serious injury to his head. He was quickly set upon by the mob who beat him and eventually poured gasoline over him. According to the police, they then set MA on fire while he was still alive.
“The perpetrator suffered burns to up to 80 percent of his body and died on the spot,” Bekasi Police Public Relations Head Kunto Bagus.
A popular Indonesian news Facebook group, featuring pictures purporting to be those of MA’s corpse and his attackers alleges that he was not a thief at all but a technician who had taken some of the speakers he was servicing to the mosque while he prayed.
One of MA’s neighbors claims that the victim was indeed a service technician who often prayed at the mosque and doubted he would have stolen the amplifiers.
However, police have dismissed this possibility, saying that they had evidence that MA had in fact stolen the mosque’s speakers, including testimony from the mosque caretakers who first noticed that the amplifiers were missing.
Police say that MA’s family accepted that he had committed the theft and thus accepted his horrific fate, refusing to press charges against any of the attackers and even refusing an autopsy on his body.