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Novel Baswedan: This Terror is Due to Corruption Eradication
Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) senior investigator Novel Baswedan
Tuesday, 02 January, 2018 | 17:04 WIB
Novel Baswedan: This Terror is Due to Corruption Eradication

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Novel Baswedan has been staying in Singapore for nine months. This investigator at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) makes frequent trips to the General Hospital near Orchard Road to have his left eye examined. It was completely blinded when an unidentified person threw acid in his face on April 11, 2017. His wife and four children in Jakarta sometimes visit him in Singapore.

He is staying at a rented house not far from the hospital. His daily routine is predictable: if he is not at the hospital or going to the minimarket occasionally, five times a day he goes to Al-Falah Mosque, about a kilometer away. He arrives at the mosque fifteen minutes before the call to prayer is made, and returns home an hour later after reading the Qur'an.

Novel, 40, no longer wants to walk down Orchard Street, the shopping area in the heart of Singapore. The thing is, a video of him circulated at the KPK, showing him walking from the mosque to where he is staying. The explanation accompanying the video was that Novel was out having fun. "I only go to the minimarket when I really need to, to avoid slander," he said to Syailendra Persada and Dhemas Reviyanto from Tempo, in early November 2017.

The medical procedure on Novel’s eye did not go according to plan. A membrane should have been attached to his outer eye at the end of December 2017, so that the doctor could operate in early 2018. However, as of early December, the membrane has only covered 60 percent of his eyeball.

He cannot see out of his left eye, which has turned white. Before the artificial membrane began to be attached, he could still detect light in his left eye. Novel must fully rely on his right eye to see. He needs a magnifying glass to read the Qur’an. 

During the interview, he suddenly asked for a tissue and eye drops. "It is very itchy," he said. His eye is dry and often needs eye drops.

The doctor has attached additional membrane to cover Novel’s entire eyeball. If this succeeds, he will undergo a cornea transplant in 2018. This former police officer who became a KPK employee talked about his life in Singapore and the investigation into the man who threw acid in his face.

So far, the police have been unable to catch the person who attacked you. Do you believe the police will be able to find him?

Each day my confidence dwindles. For me, nine months is too long. Being able to catch this perpetrator is not just for me, but for the good name of the police. If the police do not catch him, the public will lose confidence in the police.

In your opinion, why have the police not caught him?

I received information from inside the National Police that investigators are not really trying hard because many people are involved in the case. That is what is creating the problem. As for involvement, I think Tempo already knows who is involved. The police have a lot of resources. They have good human resources and supporting technology. They should be able to catch the perpetrator faster than this. Neighbors in my housing complex already helped the police by providing some evidence, such as photos and security camera recordings.

The police have questioned the people in that photo, but released them because they had strong alibis.

I am an investigator. I know how an investigator is supposed to work. Basically, don’t just believe the alibi, but really check it in the field. Go and check again to see why they were hanging out around my house for several days.

The police have released three facial sketches of the suspected perpetrator.

Some friends have said that those sketches differ from who they saw. I don’t know how the police made them. One example is the height of the person who visited my house. The estimates of my friends and the police differ. The guest was recorded on a security camera. My friends estimated this person’s height by comparing his head to objects at the house. As a result, they figured his height was 140-150 centimeters. The police said it is 160 centimeters.

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



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