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Jakarta Post

Baffled by light sentences sought for Novel Baswedan's attackers, netizens turn to humor

  • Rizki Fachriansyah
    Rizki Fachriansyah

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sun, June 14, 2020   /   07:07 pm
Baffled by light sentences sought for Novel Baswedan's attackers, netizens turn to humor A police officer suspected of carrying out an acid attack on Novel Baswedan is escorted outside the Jakarta Police headquarters in South Jakarta on Dec. 28, 2019. ( Aryadita Umasugi) ( Aryadita Umasugi)

Social media users have aired their collective disappointment and bewilderment at the one-year prison sentence demanded for police officers who allegedly attacked Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator Novel Baswedan through sarcastic videos and memes.

One particular video, posted by young comedian Bintang Emon on Friday, went viral over the weekend and drew praise from Novel himself.

In the video, Emon poked fun at the prosecutors’ insistence that the defendants in the case – Chief Brig. Ronny Bugis and Brig. Rahmat Kadir – had ‘accidentally’ thrown sulfuric acid in Novel’s face in April 2017, claiming that they had initially aimed for his torso.


A post shared by Gusti Bintang (@bintangemon) on

“We live on Earth, gravity [pulls objects] downwards. There’s no way that [liquid] splashed onto the body could find its way to the face,” the comedian quipped in the video.

“Unless Pak Novel Baswedan walked [while performing] a handstand. In that case, you may protest to the judge: ‘Your Honor, I initially aimed for his body, but because he was [walking on his hands], the acid was spilled onto his face.’”

Emon’s video has since drawn more than 7 million views on Instagram alone as of Sunday afternoon. Clips of his skit have also been reposted on Twitter, giving rise to the trending topic “Gak Sengaja” (by accident) on the platform.

The skit was met with praise among fellow netizens and celebrities, with some lauding Emon’s decision to use his penchant for humor to speak up about the notoriously difficult case.

“So cool of you to speak up about this kind of topic. Respect,” singer Vidi Aldiano commented on the video.

“Great, someone finally dares [to speak up]. He’s going to have to make an apology video at the Jakarta Police soon,” filmmaker Ernest Prakasa jokingly responded to the video, in reference to the recent trend of internet influencers publicly apologizing for past controversies.

Novel himself also went on the record as saying that he found Emon’s video amusing.

“That boy is ingenious,” he said on Saturday as quoted by

Meanwhile, netizens on Twitter have also conveyed their astonishment at the latest development in Novel’s long-gestating case through memes.

Twitter user @davadntrt posted an illustration of a cartoon character lying awake in their bed, while ruminating on the possibility of someone accidentally spilling acid on another person’s face.

“How could someone ACCIDENTALLY throw acid on another person’s face?” the character said in a thought bubble.

Another user, @trimuktiwijaya, brought up the issue in a comic strip featuring Nickelodeon’s popular cartoon character Spongebob Squarepants. In the comic, Spongebob defends himself from a court verdict by claiming that he had only accidentally committed the offenses. The judge listens and decides to reduce the punishment to just one year in prison.

“I tweeted this by accident,” @trimuktiwijaya wrote in the caption.Prosecutors demanded on Friday that defendants Ronny and Rahmat be given one-year prison terms for their involvement in the acid attack on Novel, in which the KPK investigator lost an eye.

Ronny and Rahmat have been accused of attacking Novel because of the latter’s work as an investigator for the KPK, which saw several powerful and corrupt politicians and government officials as well as police officers end up behind bars. Shortly after he was arrested, Ronny said that he considered Novel, who previously served as a police officer, a traitor.