Probe fails to solve acid attack on senior KPK official Novel Baswedan

Photo of KPK senior investigator Novel Baswedan in the hospital after his acid attack on April 11, 2017.
Photo of KPK senior investigator Novel Baswedan in the hospital after his acid attack on April 11, 2017.

A six-month long investigation into an acid attack that left a prominent Indonesian corruption investigator partially blind has failed to identify the perpetrators, authorities said Wednesday, prompting howls of criticism from rights activists.

Novel Baswedan, a member of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), was attacked more than two years ago in Jakarta as he walked home from a mosque following early morning prayers.

Despite mounting public anger over the case, a multi-party fact-finding team announced Wednesday it had failed to identify the two men behind the attack or identify a possible motive.

“There were no witnesses who saw the attack and the victim himself could not recognise the perpetrators who were wearing full-face helmet,” Nurkholis, a former chairman of Indonesia’s human rights commission and leader of the team told a press conference.

The attack was likely linked to one of six high-profile corruption cases Baswedan was probing — including a government project to issue new ID cards that allegedly saw about $170 million pilfered from government coffers, the team concluded.

Anti-graft investigators in Indonesia — one of the world’s most corrupt countries — have been targeted in the past, and have reported having cars driven at them and receiving threats.

The 65-strong team –- which included police, rights activists and legal experts — was set up in January amid growing public distrust over how police were handling the case.

Rights activists said the case set a dangerous precedent for the country’s war on graft.

“If a top graft buster is attacked and nothing is done about it, how do we expect corruption eradication to thrive?” Alghifari Aqsa, a human rights lawyer from the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation, told AFP.

National police spokesman Muhammad Iqbal said a special team of investigators would be set up to pursue the case further.

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