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Jakarta Post

KPK urged to take on Novel’s acid attack case after prosecutors demand light sentence

  • Moch. Fiqih Prawira Adjie

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, June 20, 2020   /   11:20 am
KPK urged to take on Novel’s acid attack case after prosecutors demand light sentence Chief Brig. Ronny Bugis (center), a police officer suspected of pouring acid on KPK investigator Novel Baswedan, is escorted from the Jakarta Police headquarters in South Jakarta on Dec. 28, 2019. ( Aryadita Umasugi)

Former Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) commissioners have urged the antigraft body to take on the prosecution of the alleged attackers of senior investigator Novel Baswedan after the current prosecution demanded notably light sentences for the defendants.

Prosecutors are seeking one year of prison for the two police officers, Chief Brig. Ronny Bugis and Brig. Rahmat Kadir Mahulette, who are standing trial for their alleged involvement in an acid attack on Novel in April 2017.

The prosecutors said the defendants had “accidentally” thrown sulfuric acid in the investigator’s face.

Abraham Samad, who led the antigraft body between 2011 and 2015, criticized current KPK chairman Firli Bahuri for his recent statement saying the ongoing legal process should be respected.

The former chairman said KPK leaders should take responsibility and act on the case as the acid attack was not simply a personal attack against Novel.

“This was an attack against the corruption eradication agenda as well as the institution itself,” Abraham said during a discussion on Friday.

Read also: Lawyers seek acquittal in Novel acid attack case

He urged current KPK commissioners to pressure the government to address the acid attack case more seriously, citing several suspicious occurrences during the investigation. Abraham pointed out that the police had taken three years to find the suspects, even though both suspects were active police officers.

Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) coordinator Yati Andriyani, who is also part of Novel’s legal team, said investigators had not summoned Novel’s three neighbors, who were key witnesses in the case.

They said they had witnessed people preparing a liquid before throwing it on Novel and scouting around Novel’s house prior to the attack.

Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator Novel Baswedan arrives at the Jakarta Police headquarters on Dec. 6, 2019.Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator Novel Baswedan arrives at the Jakarta Police headquarters on Dec. 6, 2019. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

She also noted the fact that the defendants’ legal team was led by National Police law division head Insp. Gen. Rudy Heriyanto Adi Nugroho, who served as the Jakarta Police’s general crime division head during the investigation of the acid attack in April 2017.

“He investigated the case, but now he is acting as the defendant’s legal representative. The conflict of interest is obvious,” said Yati.

She said the KPK should open an obstruction of justice case against the defendants, as the National Commission on Human Rights’ (Komnas HAM) 2018 investigation concluded that the attack was related to Novel’s work as KPK investigator.

The 2001 Anticorruption Law stipulates that obstruction of justice or obstruction of the work of graft busters can carry up to 12 years of prison.

Read also: House to question attorney general on 'light' sentence sought for suspects in Novel case

Novel had previously told the courtroom that he believed the acid attack was related to his work on certain high-profile corruption cases, including a bribery case pertaining to beef imports that implicated former Constitutional Court justice Patrialis Akbar and an e-ID corruption case that implicated former House of Representatives speaker Setya Novanto.

Former commissioner Saut Situmorang said the KPK leaders at that time had considered a plan to launch an obstruction of justice investigation pertaining to the attack on Novel. However, they decided to wait for further developments in the police investigation, especially the establishment of the perpetrators’ motives.

Abraham urged the government to take action despite President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s statement that he would not intervene in the ongoing legal proceedings.

“The President is the commander-in-chief of the country’s law enforcement. He should be serious in directing the enforcement of this case because it has deviated from the right path.”