Palace claims Widodo’s faith in police unshaken by farcical acid attack trial

Source – June 18, 2020
Widodo preparing to chair limited meeting at presidential office – December 4, 2019 (Antara)

Ihsanuddin, Jakarta – Special Presidential Staff for Legal Affairs, Dini Purwono insists that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo commitment to seeking justice over the 2017 acid attack against senior Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator Novel Baswedan has not changed.

The president still has a strong commitment to see the case fully resolved. The president also still believes in the independence of law enforcement institutions in resolving the case.

“The president still has a strong commitment to this issue and he believes in the independence of the law enforcement institutions belonging to the state”, Purwono told on Thursday June 18.

This was conveyed by Purwono in response to the widespread disappointment over the light sentences demanded by the prosecution in the trail of the two alleged perpetrators of the attack.

The prosecution is only demanding a sentences of one year in prison for the two defendants, both of whom are police officers.

According to Purwono, the president respects the legal process that is under way and cannot intervene in it. “It has to be understood that the president as the executive cannot interfere in matters of judicial authority”, said Purwono.

Nevertheless, Purwono said that the president hopes and is convinced that the panel of judges will hand down the most just veridict possible in the case.


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. 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 investigating, surrendered to police and confessed to be the ones who attacked Baswedan. The pair are widely seen as “fall guys” employed to ensure the case goes no further.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Soal Kasus Novel, Istana Sebut Jokowi Percaya pada Independensi Penegak Hukum”.]