Anti-corruption investigator Novel Baswedan at the Jakarta Police headquarters on Jan. 6. (Antara Photo/Galih Pradipta )

AGO Asked to Explain Light Sentence Demanded in Novel Baswedan's Acid Attack Trial


JUNE 29, 2020

Jakarta. A member of the House of Representatives' Commission III, Aboe Bakar Alhabsyi, said on Monday the Attorney General's Office should explain why prosecutors had only demanded a one-year sentence for two police officers accused of an acid attack on anti-corruption investigator Novel Baswedan back in 2017.  

On June 11, the public prosecutor at the North Jakarta District Court demanded a one-year jail term for Ronny Bugis and Rahmat Kadir Mahulette for their involvement in the attack, which caused severe injury to Novel's left eye. 


The attackers were charged with article 353 verse 2 and article 55 verse 1 of the Criminal Code (KUHP), which carry a maximum jail sentence of seven years for "premeditated assault that causes severe injury."

"People have been questioning the prosecutor's motive [in demanding such a light sentence]. Similar cases in the past have resulted in heavier sentences. The Attorney General's Office must be more transparent about this case," Aboe Bakar said during a meeting with Attorney General S.T. Burhanuddin. 

In 2018, prosecutors at the Pekalongan District Court demanded an eight-year jail term for a man named Ruslam who threw acid at his wife. 

In 2019, prosecutors at the Bengkulu District Court charged Rika Sonata with 10 years in jail for hiring a man to commit an acid attack.

In 2020, prosecutors at the same court also demanded a 20-year sentence for a man called Heriyanto who was also accused of committing an acid attack. 

Aboe Bakar said the public is disappointed that the prosecutors in Novel's case seem to side with the attackers.

"We need to know if proper procedures have been followed by the prosecutors. Has the Attorney General been instructing them?" he said added.

Another Commission III member from the National Democratic Party (NasDem), Taufik Basari, said the prosecution in Novel's case has been "irrational and strange." 

Taufik said the Attorney General's Office should explain its involvement in the case to the public in order to maintain public trust toward the institution. 

"I have read the prosecutor's sentencing demand and found some irrational and strange aspects in it. I think it's important that the Attorney General's Office shows the public that it can be trusted," Taufik said.

Attorney General Burhanuddin said his office will evaluate the case.

However, he said the public prosecutor at the North Jakarta District Court is not to blame since his action was based on facts presented at the trial

"We'll evaluate the performance of the prosecutor. We'll find out the reason why he demanded a light sentence. I had no knowledge of his strategy for the trial," Burhanuddin said.

"We will also compare the prosecution's demand with the court ruling. If they don't match, then we'll have something to investigate," he said.