President pushes Chief of Police to solve the Novel Baswedan case within days

President Joko Widodo appoints Police General Commissioner Drs. Idham Azis as Chief of Police of the Republic of Indonesia at the Presidential Palace, Jakarta, on Friday (01/11/2019). (Photo: Prive. Doc)

IO, Jakarta – ln view of the World Anti-Corruption Day on 9 December, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) reminds the Indonesian Police Force that the case of the acid attack on senior Corruption Eradication Commission ( “KPK”) investigator Novel Baswedan on 11 April 2017 remains unsolved. The Police have yet to solve this case, even though Jokowi has set a deadline of early December 2019 to the new Chief of Police, General Idham Azis, to do so. “I have told the new Chief of Police that I am giving him the deadline of early December (2019),” Jokowi said to the press in Merdeka Palace, Jakarta, on 1 November 2019.

When the desired deadline was missed, Jokowi summoned the Chief of Police to the Presidential Palace on Monday (09/12/2019). He then firmly ordered the Chief of Police to resolve Novel Baswedan’s case and announce the perpetrators to the public in a matter of days. “I am not talking about ‘months’ anymore. When I say ‘as quickly as possible’, I mean within days. Stop pestering me and communicate directly with Police Headquarters,” Jokowi said after the Regional Financial Access Acceleration Team’s National Coordination Meeting (Rapat Koordinasi Nasional Tim Percepatan Akses Keuangan Daerah – “Rakornas TPAKD”) was held at Mulia Hotel, Senayan, Jakarta, on Tuesday (10/12/2019).

Jokowi stated that Idham has informed him of new findings that will help the Police reach a conclusion. However, he did not confirm whether the new findings are related to the perpetrators of the attack or not. “Yesterday afternoon, I have invited the Chief of Police and asked him directly. I wanted to be certain whether there is any progress or not. And the result? He told me that there are new findings that lead to a resolution,” he said.

After a 20-minute meeting with Jokowi at Merdeka Palace, Jakarta, on Monday (09/12/2019) after­noon, Idham requested that the Head of the National Police’s PR Division, General Inspector Muhammad Iqbal, ask that the people remain patient towards the progress of the investigation of the acid attack against Novel. “Please be patient. Our technical team will resolve the case soon. We have found significant evidence and clues,” he said

Iqbal stated that Jokowi has asked about the general progress of the investigation. He further stated that Idham has reported to the President that Novel’s attacker has not been discovered until now. He further stated that Idham has appointed the new Head of the National Police’s Criminal Investigation Division, Inspector General Listyo Sigit Prabowo, to deal with the case. “No, we still have not found the perpetrators yet. However, Insha Allah (with Allah’s permission), the Team will continue to work optimally to solve the case,” he said.

The Field Technical Team
The National Police has reported the results of the 65-member Joint Fact-finding Team (Tim Gabungan Pencari Fakta – “TGPF”) 6-month long investigation that ended on 7 July 2019. The TGPF submitted a 2700-page report of their findings to the Chief of Police, which includes the recommendation that the Chief of Police establish a Field Technical Team in order to follow up on TGPF’s findings. In response to this recommendation, General Inspector Muhamad Iqbal stated that the National Police will establish a Field Technical Team to be headed by the then-Head of the National Police’s Criminal Investigation Division, Police General Commissioner Idham Azis. “The Chief of Police has appointed the Head of the Criminal Investigation Division to lead the Field Technical Team. The Head of Criminal Investigation in turn has the authority to appoint the best personnel among our staff to perform the required scientific investigation,” he stated in July 2019.

To confirm, TGPF Spokesman Nur Kholis stated after 6 months of investigative work, TGPF is still unable to discover the perpetrator of the acid attack against Novel Baswedan. TGPF then recommends that the National Police further search out the two perpetrators who were briefly captured on a CCTV image. “Both perpetrators wore full face helmets, and the CCTV images are quite blurry. This makes it hard for us to discover their identity. We further recommend that the National Police mount a digital trace tracking in order to resolve this case. They have found significant evidence and clues for the case from having investigated 37 witnesses, 114 chemical goods shops, and 38 CCTV points. The Police have checked the CCTV recording in the National Police Headquarters’ forensic laboratory as well as in one in Australia. This shows just how serious the police are,” he said.

Iqbal further denies that the Police investigation of Novel’s case is slow, especially if the reluctance is said to be related to suspicious causes. He stated that each case has different obstacles and characteristics, and therefore take different investigation durations to solve. “We are not playing around. Each case simply has different levels of difficulty. We have also involved various elements in the investigation, and we have even requested help from the Australian police. Therefore, we ask the that people remain patient. We are working earnestly and we are not taking interference from anyone trying to steer the investigation towards any specific direction, even from those who gave us the mandate for it. We do not work based on any rumors that this general or that high official is behind the attack, but based on the facts and evidence that we found,” he said.

Meanwhile, Coordinating Minister of Politics, Law, and Security Mahfud MD refused to respond when he was asked about the revelations in the case of acid attack against KPK investigator Novel Baswedan. When questioned during the World Anti-Corruption Day celebrations at KPK’s Merah Putih Building, Jakarta, on Monday (09/12/2019), he simply stated that “There are simply too many questions. We simply cannot answer them all briefly.” (dan)