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Jakarta Post

Novel's alleged attackers should be acquitted to restart investigation: Former KPK chief

  • Moch. Fiqih Prawira Adjie

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, June 20, 2020   /   01:14 pm
Novel's alleged attackers should be acquitted to restart investigation: Former KPK chief Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator Novel Baswedan arrives at the Jakarta Police headquarters in Jakarta, on Dec. 6, 2019. Novel was questioned as the victim in the acid attack against him in April 2017. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

Former Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) chairman Busyro Muqoddas expressed support for the judges at the North Jakarta District Court to free the alleged attackers of graft buster Novel Baswedan in order to give room for a new investigation.

“Hopefully the panel of judges will acquit [the defendants] so a new investigation can be carried out,” he said in a virtual discussion on Novel’s case held by Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) on Friday.

Busyro said the new inquisition would hopefully reveal the real culprits and masterminds behind the case. He cited the murder case of a journalist of Yogyakarta local daily newspaper Bernas during the New Order era.

Read also: Jokowi hopes for 'fair' verdict in Novel Baswedan's acid attack trial: State Palace

The journalist, Fuad Muhammad Syariffudin, was killed in August 1996 shortly after writing a story on several graft practices committed by the Bantul administration in the province.

Dwi Sumaji, the sole suspect arrested by the police, allegedly was forced to admit his involvement in the murder. He was later freed of all charges by the Bantul District Court in 1997 due to a lack of evidence.

“The real culprit will not be revealed unless the judges free the defendants with their conscience,” Busyro, who led the antigraft agency from 2011 to 2015, said.

“If I were the judge, I would use my judge reasoning in addition to my legal reasoning and intuition,” he continued.

If the judge were to acquit the defendants of all charges, Busyro suggested that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo form an independent fact-finding team to reopen the new investigation instead of handing it over to the police again.

State prosecutors had previously demanded a one-year prison sentence against the defendants, police personnel Chief Brig. Ronny Bugis and Brig. Rahmat Kadir Mahulette. The defendants allegedly attacked Novel with sulfuric acid, resulting in serious damage to Novel’s eyes.

The light sentence demands had sparked public outcry questioning the prosecutors’ arguments that the defendants “accidentally” threw the acid into Novel’s face in April 2017.

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

Activists and members of the public also raised suspicions that the two policemen were merely scapegoated, with the mastermind still at large.

Novel had tweeted through his Twitter account, @nazaqistha, that the defendants should be released “rather than making things up”, expressing his disbelief that the accused were the real culprits.

Other former KPK leaders and Novel’s legal team members had urged the KPK to act upon the light sentence sought against the defendants, arguing that the attack on Novel was an attack on the national corruption eradication agenda as well.