Joint team expected to solve mystery of Novel Baswedan case

Joint team expected to solve mystery of Novel Baswedan case

Abraham Somad was present at the KPK office on Jan 15, 2019, to witness a presentation of investigation results on Novel Baswedan case by an NGO coalition called the Coalition of Anti-Corruption Civilian Community. . (Antara/Benardy Ferdiansyah)

Jakarta (ANTARA News)- Nearly two years have passed since Novel Baswedan, senior investigator of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), was attacked with acid that caused him to lose vision in his left eye, but the perpetrators are still at large and unidentified until now.

Baswedan was fatally attacked while heading home after performing Fajr, or the Dawn prayer, at a mosque nearby when two motorcyclists hurled acid on his face that injured his eyes, particularly the left eye, on April 11, 2017.

Baswedan, a 42-year-old retired police officer, had joined the anti-graft agency in 2007 and was entrusted with investigating major corruption cases, including those allegedly involving several high-ranking officials. Since then, he has been frequently terrorized and attacked.

Both the Jakarta Metro Jaya Police and the National Police`s Crime Investigation Department have claimed that they are incessantly investigating the case, but the investigation has failed to trace the attackers so far.

Finally, the Indonesian Police has announced that Chief of the Indonesian Police (Polri) General Tito Karnavian on Jan 8, 2019, signed an assignment letter on establishment of a joint team to investigate the case of Baswedan.

The joint team, comprising 65 members representing officers of the Polri, the KPK, the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), and NGOs, will work from Jan 8 to July 7, 2019.

The joint team was formed at the recommendation of the Komnas HAM, Inspector General M Iqbal, spokesman of the National Police, stated on Jan 11, 2019.

Iqbal later explained that the joint team is a technical team to investigate the case and not a joint fact finding team (TGPF) that has been suggested by several KPK commissioners and NGOs.

The Komnas HAM on Dec 21, 2018, sent recommendations on the need to form a joint team comprising police, KPK officers, and experts to investigate Baswedan case to the Police Chief, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), and the KPK.

Karnavian is the person in charge of the joint team, and his deputy is Commissioner General Ari Dono, who is concurrently the deputy police chief.

The joint team?s chairman is Inspector General Idham Azis, who is concurrently Jakarta Police chief, and his deputy is Brigadier General Nico Afinto, chairman of the Jakarta Police`s Crime Investigation Bureau.

The joint team`s members include 46 police officers and several experts and NGO activities, such as Indriyanto Seno Adji of KPK, Hermawan Sulistyo of LIPI, Amzulian Rifai, Hendardi of Setara Institute, Poengky Indarti, Nur Kholis of Komnas HAM, Ifdhal Kasim of the Komnas HAM, Budi Agung Nugroro, Harun, Novrizal, Herda K, and Tessa Mahardika.

Other police high-ranking officers included in the joint team are Commissioner General Arief Sulistyanto, Commissioner General Putut Eko Bayuseno, Inspector General Listyo Sigit Prabowo, and Brigadier General Wahyu Hadininggrat.

Speaking to the press, Jokowi remarked that he would monitor the joint team in investigating the case.

"My job is to monitor, so that this case would be soon solved," Jokowi noted on Jan 14, 2019. Complete initial proof is needed in every case, he emphasized.

"My part is just to ensure that it would be completed fast. That is all is my task," Jokowi noted.

"This is a recommendation of the Komnas HAM to the Polri to set up an investigation team or a joint team, comprising Polri, KPK, and experts, in order to solve the case fast," he explained.

Speaker of the House of Representatives (DPR) Bambang Soesatyo lauded the establishment of the joint investigation team and hoped the case will be solved and the perpetrators caught.

"Any effort of the Police to solve the case is appreciated,? the senior politician of Golkar Party, noted.

He called on the public to think positively about the joint team and not politicize it. Apparently, he made the comment to respond to a statement saying that the joint team was finally set up as the presidential election debates are approaching.

Another hope was voiced by former chairman of KPK Abraham Samad who stated that if the case is not solved, KPK commissioners and investigators would always be targets of terror.

The KPK has recorded at least nine attacks on its officials and employees so far. The latest one was on Jan 9, 2019, where bombs were found in the homes of KPK Chairman Agus Raharjo and Commissioner Laode M Syarif. The police are still investigating the terrors.

"Baswedan case still remains unsolved and similar cases were have also been experienced by Syarif and Rahardjo," Somad noted.

He believed that if the attackers of Baswedan were not arrested, other KPK members would also be terrorized.

Somad was present at the KPK office on Jan 15, 2019, to witness a presentation of investigation results on Baswedan case by an NGO coalition called the Coalition of Anti-Corruption Civilian Community.

Asfinawati, chairperson of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI), explained that the investigation results showed that the attack on Baswedan was a premeditated murder attempt for an obstruction of justice.

The coalition comprises YLBHI, LBH Jakarta, Kontras, Lokataru Foundation, ICW, LBH Pers, PSHK, AMAR, Pusat Studi Konstitusi, FH Universitas Andalas, and PUKAT UGM or the Anti-Corruption Study Center of the Faculty of Law of the University of Gadjah Mada.

The coalition issued a recommendation to Jokowi to evaluate the performance of the Police in investigating the case and take over the police?s task by establishing a joint fact finding team (TGPF).

The proposed TGPF should investigate every legal enforcement officer and other parties allegedly involved in the acid attack or attempting to weaken the KPK in its fight against corruption practices in the country, Yati Andriyani of Kontras said while reading the recommendations at the KPK building.

Meanwhile, in response to the establishment of the joint team, Baswedan noted that he and his colleagues wanted a joint fact finding team to probe his case.

He explained that investigation by the new joint team would not be different from what the police have done so far.

"This is what I have questioned so far. But, it is okay because it is newly formed. Certainly, all of us will judge whether the team will work properly or not. The indicator will be whether they are successful in uncovering the case. I am afraid the case will be deliberately unsolved, and I as the victim, I have to bear the burden to prove it," Baswedan explained, while expressing his pessimism.

Time will tell whether the newly formed joint team will work differently from the previous one and be successful in identifying and arresting the perpetrators and uncover the mastermind.