Jakarta, April 14, 2017 (Antara) - Novel Baswedan, a senior investigator of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), on the morning of Apr 11 was heading home after performing Fajr, or Dawn, prayer at a mosque nearby when two motorcyclists attacked him.
The attackers hurled acid on Baswedan's face that injured his eyes, particularly the left eye.
He was rushed to Mitra Keluarga in Kelapa Gading and later moved to the Jakarta Eye Center and then to a hospital in Singapore.
"Thank God, his condition is improving, now," Taufik Baswedan, his brother, said on Apr 13.
Born in June 1977, Baswedan had joined the anti-graft agency in 2007.
Since then, he has been frequently terrorized and attacked.
In 2016, Baswedan was hit by a car while driving a motorcycle on his way to the KPK building.
The retired policeman had also been criminalized and named a suspect in a maltreatment case in Bengkulu in 2015.
In 2012, his motorcycle was seriously damaged after being attacked by supporters of Amran Batalipu, the former district head of Buol, who is now in prison for corruption.
Baswedan is currently handling a mega corruption case related to the e-ID card project, allegedly involving the country's political elites.
President Joko Widodo had expressed his condemnation to the latest attack.
"It is a brutal act. I condemn it in the strongest terms, and I order the national police chief to find those responsible," he informed journalists at the State Palace in Jakarta, on April 11, 2017.
The police are still on the lookout for the attackers and found a cup on the scene.
"The Jakarta Police has collected information about the chemical material used by the perpetrator," spokesman of the National Police Inspector General Boy Rafli stated.
Rafli has denounced the attack against Baswedan. The attack was a form of intimidation against the anti-graft body.
"The police will investigate the incident comprehensively," he remarked.
The police are examining the evidence in the laboratory to ascertain the type and composition of the liquid.
The Jakarta Police have set up special teams to investigate the attack.
"The teams comprise members from the regional police command, the resort police, and the sector police led by the director of general crime investigation," Jakarta Metropolitan Police spokesman Senior Commissioner Argo Yuwono had noted on Apr 13.
He stated that the two special teams had three groups, with 10 members each, to uncover the case.
A total of 16 witnesses have been questioned, so far, to identify those responsible for the attack on the former police member.
Furthermore, Metropolitan Police Chief Inspector General M. Iriawan instructed his general crime division and subordinates from the North Jakarta police to expose those who had attacked Baswedan.
"We are all concerned about this acid attack," he informed newsmen in response to the developments in the police investigation in this case.
According to several media reports, the Jakarta Police chief had also investigated a possible link between the attack and the online hijab business run by Baswedan's wife.
Several parties, however, are certain that the attack is related to the corruption cases being handled by Baswedan.
Ahmad Doli Kurnia, a young Golkar Party politician, among others, believed that the acid attack against Baswedan is related to the high-profile corruption cases he was handling.
"It is difficult to not draw a conclusion that the attack against Novel is closely related to the mega corruption scandals being handled by the KPK lately," Kurnia, a leader of Golkar's youth organization, stated.
He suspected that Baswedan had become a victim of those who bore grudges against him for handling corruption cases.
He regretted that the senior investigator could easily become a target of attack.
"Is it a proof that our security system is so fragile that a legal enforcer could be easily attacked," he questioned.
He urged the police to arrest the attackers and reveal the motives behind the attack.
"We, the younger generation of Golkar Party, continue to support Novel Baswedan in his efforts to eradicate corruption in Indonesia. We pray for Novel's recovery, so he could resume his work," he said.
A similar call was voiced by Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) that has strongly condemned the attack.
"The police should investigate the attack comprehensively and arrest the perpetrators," ICW coordinator Adnan Topan pointed out.
Topan recalled that Baswedan had faced similar attacks in the past. He reiterated that the attack should be viewed as a threat to the anti-corruption agenda, as the people or groups who commit such acts of terror harbor the main objective of hindering the legal process in corruption cases.
"The ICW urges President Joko Widodo and the Police to take a firm stance and to prosecute the perpetrators. The Indonesian people want to know the mastermind behind the acid attack," he remarked.
He said the Police should increase security cover for investigators of the anti-graft body.
The Muslim-based United Development Party and the Association of Mathla'ul Anwar Students (PP IPMA) also urged the Indonesian Police to quickly uncover the motive and perpetrator behind the acid attack on the KPK investigator.
"This case is closely related to Novel Baswedan's professional background as the graft body's investigator," the party's senior politician Muhammad Romahurmuziy emphasized.
He urged the police to capture the attackers and conduct a probe to find the culprits who ordered them to terrorize the investigator.
Daden Ahmad Sughiri, the IPMA chairman, said the terror attack against the senior investigator is a crime aimed at silencing justice in this country.
He viewed the attack as an extraordinary crime against the legal enforcer.
"The police, under the leadership of General Tito Karnavian, must arrest the attackers, particularly since the public trust toward the police has dropped. Hence, to increase public trust, there is no other way than to arrest the attackers because the public views this as a form of terror to silence anyone trying to uphold justice," he pointed out.
Despite the latest act of terror, the KPK has made assurance that it will not deter the commission in its fight against corruption.
"There is no feeling of fear or dismay. Anything that happened today will not deter the KPK's efforts to eradicate corruption," Deputy Chairman of KPK Basaria Panjaitan emphasized.
She expressed hope that the police would be able to uncover the perpetrators behind the attack on senior investigator Baswedan.
Following the incident, the anti-graft commission will evaluate the security mechanism for its investigators.
According to Panjaitan, all investigators of the KPK have been armed to protect themselves from possible attacks.
EDITED BY INE/H-YH
EDITED BY INE/H-YH