Novel Baswedan’s lawyer says police fact finding team a ‘total failure’

CNN Indonesia – July 17, 2019
Police fact finding team press conference – July 17, 2019 (CNN)
Police fact finding team press conference – July 17, 2019 (CNN)

Jakarta – The lawyer representing senior Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator Novel Baswedan, Arif Maulana, believes that the Joint Fact Finding Team (TPGF) established by Indonesian police (Polri) chief General Tito Karnavian has totally failed to properly investigate the 2017 acid attack against his client.

“We have to say that the joint team formed by Polri which represents a follow up on the recommendations of Komnas HAM [the National Human Rights Commission] has totally failed to carry out its mandate”, said Maulana at the KPK building in Jakarta on Wednesday July 17.

The indicator of the team’s failure, said Maulana, is the failure to reveal the perpetrator of the acid attack against Baswedan. He said that the team only followed the recommendations and the motive without citing who threw the acid in Baswedan’s face.

“This failure can be seen from not yet revealing the perpetrator, the field operative and executor of the attack, let alone the intellectual actor behind the attack against Novel Baswedan as the victim”, he said.

The team’s failure, according to Maulana, also represents a failure of the police as an institution in solving the case. “This failure is a failure of the national police which is blatantly obvious in the Novel Baswedan case”, he said.

Earlier today the police’s TGPF team held a press conference at the national police headquarters to report the results of six month’s work investigating the case. At no point during the explanation of the investigation results did the team cite the name of the perpetrator or the mastermind behind the attack.

The only definitive finding was that the type of chemicals used in the attack, which up until now have only been referred to as acid. The team found that the chemical used was sulfuric acid H2SO4.

“It was diluted with water, not concentrated, so it did not result in permanent injuries to the victim and the gamis shirt (a long white shirt often worn when performing prayers) that he was wearing did not suffer damage”, said team member Nur Kholis.

The other thing reported by the team was that it will be giving a number of recommendations to the national police. One of these is a recommendation to conduct further investigation into three unidentified individuals who are suspected to have been involved in the case.

The three people mentioned by the team were a person who approached Baswedan’s residence in April 2017 and two people who were at the Al Ikhsan Mosque near Baswedan’s home on April 10, 2017.

“The TPF (fact finding team) will recommend to Polri they delve into the facts surrounding the presence of an unidentified individual who approached [Baswedan’s] home on April 5, 2017, and two unidentified individuals who were sitting near the mosque”, said Kholis.

National police public relations division chief Inspector General Muhammad Iqbal meanwhile said that the results of the TGPF’s investigation are clear, namely recommending that the police form a technical team to delve into the three unidentified individuals suspected of being involved in the attack.

The recommendation to form a technical team is because the TGPF has limited expertise. According to Iqbal the team will be headed up directly by Criminal Investigation Bureau (Bareskrim) chief Commissioner General Idham Aziz. (wis/wis)


The acid attack on senior KPK investigator Novel 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.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Kuasa Hukum Novel: Tim Bentukan Kapolri Gagal Total”.]