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Novel Baswedan: The Chief of Police Made Me a Promise
Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator Novel Baswedan.
Wednesday, 14 June, 2017 | 18:44 WIB
Novel Baswedan: The Chief of Police Made Me a Promise

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Novel Baswedan has been treated at the Singapore General Hospital since April 11 after two men threw acid on his face near a mosque in the area he lives in.

After undergoing membrane transplants to stimulate corneal cell growth, Novel has lost his vision. The Corruption Eradication Commission's (KPK) investigator spends his days lying in bed waiting for the nurse to come every two hours to apply eye drops on his eyes.

The police had detained Ahmad Lestaluhu but later released him as he has an alibi backed by relatives that he was watching TV at the time of the attack.

The police accepted his claim without further investigation, which would have been common in any criminal investigation. After more than two months, they still have not come close to unraveling the acid attack on Novel.

Novel told Tempo reporter Gadi Makitan about his days in Singapore, the terror threats he received before the attack, and his quest to identify the attackers. He also told Tempo of his dismay at the police’s slow investigation.

He asked to have some of his answers off-the-record, especially those related to major graft cases he was handling. 

How did you get a photo of Ahmad Lestaluhu?

I got it from one of Densus 88's (Special Detachment 88 Anti-terror) middle officers about a week after the incident. I did not suddenly give the picture to the investigators of the Jakarta Metro Police.

Did you ask the officer how he got hold of Lestaluhu photo?

I did. They said they ran methods of investigating and searching for terrorists. They obtained photographs, including some of Lestahulu. I showed the photos to neighbors and they all said that that's the man. There are many eyewitnesses among my neighbors. 

Why was the Densus officer looking for photos of your attacker? Is that his job? 

That's what I asked them. He said he was tasked by the Chief of Police to find the attackers. 

Are you or your family related to the officer? 

No. We only know each other through our jobs. When I was a cadet, he was my senior. He told me where he works, he also sent officers to my house, two--maybe three uniformed men asked about it to my family, who couldn’t tell them anything because they don’t know anything, and they weren’t sure if these people were real policemen. The police then gave my family the phone number of their superior, which they forwarded to me. I called the number, and then I got the photos. 

The officers that came to your house; are they all Densus officers?

I don’t know. But I see that it's related to the Police Chied's promise that he will unveil the case. So when a man from Densus told me that—I believed him. 

Read the full interview in this week's edition of Tempo English Magazine



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