Firebomb attack on LBH office may be linked to anti-government protests

Detik News – October 20, 2019
Workers repair LBH Medan offices after molotov cocktail attack – October 19, 2019 (Istimewa)
Workers repair LBH Medan offices after molotov cocktail attack – October 19, 2019 (Istimewa)

Jakarta – The Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) offices in Medan, North Sumatra, has been attacked by molotov cocktails thrown by unidentified assailants. Police are currently searching for two people beloved to have thrown the bombs.

“There were two people, we’re investigating. We’re still gathering material evidence and CCTV [recordings] in the vicinity”, explained Medan municipal police criminal investigation head Police Commander Eko Hartanto on Saturday October 19.

Hartanto said that the two perpetrators carried out the attack on motorbikes. “We looked at the CCTV recordings. There were two people riding a motorcycle”, he said.

The LBH office in the Kesawan area of Medan was attacked at 2.30 am. Fortunately the fire was able to be put out.

On the number of bombs that were thrown, Medan municipal police chief Senior Commissioner Dadang Hartanto said that there were two points of impact. “There were two points”, he said.

LBH Medan Deputy Director Irvan Saputra said that the roof of the office was damaged by the bombs but there were no causalities in the incident.

“There weren’t any victims”, Saputra told Detik on Saturday. Saputra has urged the police to investigate calling the attack an act of terrorism.

Saputra added that if the case is not taken seriously and quickly solved it will set a bad president. “This will set a bad president if it isn’t solved. Dangerous for activists and human rights defenders”, said Saputra at the LBH office.

The Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) meanwhile suspects that the attack is related to the cases being handled by the foundation. YLBHI said that the incident adds to the long list of cases of threats and terror against human rights defenders throughout Indonesia. Most of these cases are never solved.

“We suspect that the molotov cocktail attack was related to activities defending structural cases by the LBH Medan. Particularly so bearing in mind that over the last few weeks the LBH Medan office has been a consolidation point for #reformasidikorupsi [the Reformasi Corrupted nationwide student protests]”, read a YLBHI press release from 16 LBH offices across Indonesia. (idh/hri)

[Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Siapa di Balik Teror Molotov di Kantor LBH Medan?”.]