Baswedan’s lawyers say prosecutor colluding with police in acid attack trial

Java Post – March 19, 2020
KPK investigator Novel Baswedan speaking to reporters in Jakarta – January 6, 2020 (Antara)

Muhammad Ridwan – The Novel Baswedan Advocacy Team has criticised the public prosecutor’s indictment of Rahmat Kadir Mahulette and Ronny Bugis, two defendants charged with the acid attack against senior Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator Baswedan.

This is because the pair are only being charged with ordinary assault and there is no link in the indictment with Baswedan’s work eradicating corruption or systematic terror to weaken the KPK.

“There was no [reference to] Article 21 of the Corruption Eradication Law or Article 340 or the article on premeditated murder in accordance with the facts, that Novel was attacked because of his work investigating corruption cases and almost lost his life as a consequence of having acid thrown on him which entered his lings”, said Baswedan’s lawyer, Alghiffari Aqsa, in a written release on Thursday March 19.

Agsa believes that the prosecutor’s indictment totally conflicts with the findings of the Fact Finding Team formed by the National Police (Polri) to investigate the Baswedan case.

The team found that the motive for the acid attack was related to a high-profile corruption case that Baswedan was handling. Yet the prosecution’s indictment asserts that that the motive was resentment by the two defendants against Baswedan.

“The motive of resentment and hatred against Novel Baswedan is because they saw him as betraying and attacking the national police as an institution, which was conveyed by the defendants, [but actually] it was closely related to Novel’s work at the KPK”, explained Aqsa.

“It’s impossible that they were offended because of personal reasons, it’s definitely because Novel was investigating a corruption case involving the police. Moreover Novel has never met or had a personal relationship with the defendants or investigated [them] for corruption”, he added.

In the indictment, the prosecutor did not cite any facts or information about who ordered the acid attack on Baswedan. It is reasonable to suspect, continued Agsa, that the prosecutor as the one controlling the investigation is colluding with the police so that it only goes as far as the field operators.

“This conflicts with the findings of the Fact Finding Team formed by Polri which said that there was an intellectual actor behind the Novel Baswedan case”, said Aqsa unhappily.

Moreover, the National Police Headquarters have provided nine lawyers to defend the two defendants. Agsa is of the view that this is highly irregular because the criminal actions of the two defendants were not committed while carrying out their duties as police officers, yet they are being defended by the police as an institution.

“Nine lawyers are assisting the defendants but they are not submitting a demurrer. It is very irregular for a lawyer not to use the right to present a demurrer against the charges leveled against a defendant”, he said in conclusion.

[The two active police officers] Rahmat Kadir Mahulette and Ronny Bugis are alleged to have committed premeditated assault which resulted in serious injuries. The attack caused damage to the cornea of Baswedan’s left and right eyes which had the potential to leave him blind.

The two defendants confessed to carrying out the attack because they hated Baswedan and because he had betrayed and attacked the police as an institution.


The acid attack on Baswedan, which took place on April 11, 2017 as he was walking home after Friday prayers, is widely believed to be related to an investigation which Baswedan and the KPK were conducting into dozens of senior politicians involved in the e-KTP electronic ID card corruption scandal. Under mounting public pressure, in December 2018 the government formed a Joint Fact Finding Team (TGPF) to investigate the case involving the KPK, experts and senior police officials – despite the fact that on several occasions Baswedan has said that he suspects a senior “police general” was the behind the attack – and the very reason many believe police have made no progress in the case. When the TGPF finally did announced its findings, other than reaffirming that the attack was related to the e-KTP case Baswedan was working on, it failed to identify the perpetrator and added little to what was already publically known about the case. In December 2019 two active police officers, Rahmat Kadir Mahulette and Ronny Bugis, neither of which had been mentioned previously during the investigation, surrendered to police and confessed to be the ones who attacked Baswedan.

[Abridged translation by James Balowski. The second part of the article detailed the images suffered by Baswedan and was not translated. The original title of the article was “Tim Advokasi Novel Baswedan Duga Jaksa Satu Skenario dengan Polisi”.]