Concern that Novel Baswedan acid attack suspects only ‘fall guys’

CNN Indonesia – December 27, 2019
Suspects RB and RM being transferred to national police headquarters – December 28, 2019 (Antara)

Jakarta – The advocacy team representing Novel Baswedan is urging the police to immediately reveal the intellectual actor behind the acid attack on the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) senior investigator two years ago. The call follows revelations that the perpetrators of the attack are two active police officers.

Advocacy team member Alghiffari Aqsa said that their suspicions of police involvement in the attack have now been confirmed. The advocacy team, he said, have from the start suspected the involvement of police personnel, one of the reasons being that the perpetrators used a police motorcycle in the attack.

“The results of the Joint Team formed by Polri [national police], in their finding they declared that the attack on Novel was related with his work as a KPK investigator. The KPK handles big cases, in accordance with the KPK Law, so it’s not possible that the [search for the] perpetrators should end with these two people”, said Aqsa in a press release received by CNN Indonesia on the evening of Friday December 27.

Because of this, further investigation is needed to untangle the relationship between the two arrested officers with the cases being handled by Baswedan and the KPK.

In addition to this, Aqsa emphasised that if in fact the perpetrators did surrendered themselves instead of being arrested, then the police must dig into their motives.

“It must be confirmed that those concerned are not just ‘fall guys’ being used to conceal the perpetrator who played a bigger role. Because of this Polri must provide evidence that the confessions of those concerned match the testimonies of key witnesses on the ground”, he reiterated.

After more than two-and-a-half years, police finally announced that they have found the perpetrators of the acid attack on Baswedan. The two police officers with the initials RB and RM have been declared suspects and are undergoing intense questioning.

National Police Public Information Bureau Head Brigadier General Raden Prabowo Argo Yuwono declined to give any details when asked whether the perpetrators surrendered themselves or were arrested. Instead he responded by repeatedly saying that the police “secured” the pair.

“They were secured, yes. Isn’t that clear enough already? Secured then taken to the Polda Metro Jaya [Metro Jaya regional police]”, said Yuwono during a press conference near the Metro Jaya regional police headquarters in Jakarta on Friday. (ika/ain)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Tim Novel Yakin Ada Aktor Intelektual di Balik Dua Tersangka”.]