JAKARTA (AFP) – Two Indonesian police officers were jailed on Thursday (July 16) for partially blinding a top corruption investigator in an acid attack that sparked widespread anger in the graft-riddled South-east Asian nation.
A Jakarta court handed Ronny Bugis and Rahmat Kadir Mahulette one-and-a-half and two-year prison sentences, respectively, after convicting them of the 2017 attack on Novel Baswedan, a senior member of Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission.
Baswedan, 43, was set upon in the capital as he walked home from a mosque following early morning prayers.
The sentences were longer than the one-year jail terms sought by prosecutors – slammed by critics as too lenient.
But the court ruled that the officers tried to scare Baswedan rather than cause serious injury, saying they had sought to “teach him a lesson”.
Anti-graft investigators in Indonesia – considered by some watchdogs to be among the world’s most corrupt countries – have been targeted in the past, including with threats and violent attacks.
Before Thursday’s ruling, rights groups and Baswedan himself – who was permanently blinded in one eye – derided the hearing as a show trial and said key evidence was not presented, including some eyewitness testimony.
“There was an effort to create the perception that the attack was a personal one instead of an attack on a graft investigator,” Baswedan told AFP on Thursday before the sentencing.
“What we’ve seen so far is more theatre than a proper legal process.”
In an earlier interview with AFP, Baswedan said he suspected senior police officials were behind his attack. He did not identify them.
Last year, rights activists slammed a six-month-long investigation that had failed to identify those behind the attack or a possible motive.
But the government-appointed team said it 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 US$170 million (S$230 million) pilfered from government coffers.
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