Presidential candidates challenged by Baswedan case, KPK bomb threats

Presidential candidates challenged by Baswedan case, KPK bomb threats

Incumbent presidential candidate Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and his running mate Ma'ruf Amin (istimewa)

Bogor, W Java (ANTARA News) - The first round of official debates of the two pairs of Indonesian presidential and vice presidential candidates kicks off on Thursday, with law, human rights, corruption, and terrorism-related issues to feature in the debate`s agenda.

This long-awaited event seems to have gained momentum since nine days before it is held, two important incidents occurred that are so relevant to the debate agenda that the pairs of Joko Widodo-Ma`ruf Amin and Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno need to respond.

The first incident is related to the bomb terror targeting two commissioners of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), Agus Raharjo and Laode Muhammad Syarif, while the second one concerns the formation of a joint team to uncover the Novel Baswedan case.

The bomb threats occurred on Jan 9. Raharjo`s house was terrorized by unknown persons, who placed a bag with pipes inside, but the police investigators were unable to find any explosive materials in the bag.

On the same day, Syarif`s home was also attacked with two cocktail bombs, though the home-made bombs did not cause any damage to the house.

Raharjo lives in the Graha Indah housing complex, Jatiasih, Bekasi City, West Java Province, while Syarif resides on 42 C South Kalibata Street, Pancoran, South Jakarta.

Apart from the fact that the two KPK commissioners and their family members were unscathed by the bomb terror, these crimes have revived the public`s memory of the acid attack on Baswedan on April 11, 2017.

The assault, which occurred while Baswedan was heading home after performing Fajr, or the Dawn prayer, at a mosque near his house, had harmed his eyes, necessitating medical treatment in Jakarta and Singapore.

The acid attack was reportedly launched by two motorcyclists, but they managed to escape and are still at large until now. This retired police officer had joined the anti-graft agency in 2007 and since then had been frequently terrorized and attacked.

In 2012, his motorcycle was seriously damaged after being attacked by supporters of convicted Amran Batalipu, a former district head of Buol, in Central Sulawesi Province.

In connection with the case of bomb terrors, the Jakarta Metropolitan Police have deployed six personnel to safeguard the houses of two KPK commissioners.

As revealed by the Jakarta Metropolitan Police spokesman, Sen. Coms. Argo Yuwono, on Jan 10, the policemen were assigned to safeguard the homes of KPK Chairman Raharjo and KPK Commissioner Syarif round-the-clock.

The on-duty policemen were also backed by the police mobile patrols in the two commissioners` residential areas, Yuwono remarked.

Following the bomb threats on two of the anti-graft body`s commissioners on Jan 9, the National Police have also pledged to consider a discourse on giving the KPK commissioners the rights to possess weapons.

According to the National Police spokesman, Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo, the police will study the discourse that appeared in public in the aftermath of the bomb threats.

The police investigators handling these cases were still attempting to find the suspects` fingerprints at the crime scenes.

The police investigators are also examining the CCTV records and questioning several witnesses. The Indonesia Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (Inafis) team members are also conducting a thorough study on the suspects` fingerprints.

Prasetyo further revealed that by referring to the witnesses` information, the investigators have been attempting to make sketches of individuals suspected of involvement in the crimes.

The police, however, will publish the sketches after the police investigators are convinced of their accuracy.

"The sketches cannot be drawn once or twice. They must be drawn repeatedly and patiently. We must clarify about the facial features with the witnesses. We need to check and recheck the suspects` physical appearance, such as the eyes and nose," he stated.

Meanwhile, in connection with the Baswedan case, the National Police have set up a joint team, whose members comprise those from the police, KPK, and academic community as well as community figures.

The formation of the joint team is based on the National Police Chief`s letter of assignment Sgas/3/I/HUK.6.6./2019, dated Jan 8, 2019, which is valid for six months, or until July 7, 2019.

The establishment of this joint team was a concrete response to the recommendation of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) team for monitoring the legal process to National Police Chief General Tito Karnavian and President Widodo.

The anti-graft body`s commissioners expressed hope that the joint team, recently set up by the national police for handling the case of acid attack on Baswedan, would be able to uncover those responsible for the assault.

KPK Chairman Raharjo informed journalists in Jakarta on Wednesday (Jan 16) that the joint team members had met him and his deputy, Syarif. Baswedan was also present.

The cases of acid attack on Baswedan and recent bomb terror incidents targeting the two KPK commissioners have sparked deep concerns among community members.

Several representatives of the alumni of Sepuluh Nopember Institute of Technology`s (ITS`) Civil Engineering Department, for instance, came to the KPK office in Jakarta on Wednesday to voice their support for the KPK`s mission.

The ITS alumni condemned the perpetrators of the recent bomb threats at the two KPK commissioners` houses, urging the national police chief to arrest those responsible and send them to trial. They also called on the police to uncover the Baswedan case.

These two crimes against the top investigator and commissioners of the KPK, a body that has remained persistent in combating corruption in Indonesia in the post-New Order era, seem to be the tip of the iceberg in the nation`s efforts to combat corruption crimes.

The people at large, particularly those who will cast their votes on April 17, 2019, demand concrete and applicable responses from the two pairs of presidential and vice presidential candidates to tackle corruption crimes and other security challenges.

Widodo, the incumbent president, and his contender, Prabowo Subianto, are challenged to be able to give convincing answers to each of the real challenges during their first round of official debate on Thursday.

 

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