KPK: Activist Shot in E. Java Is One of Our Sources


JANUARY 21, 2015

Jakarta. The Corruption Eradication Commission, or KPK, on Wednesday confirmed that an activist in East Java who was recently ambushed and shot by unknown gunmen had been helping it in its investigation of a well-known local politician.

Mathur Husairi, 47, the director of a local group named Islamic Center for Democracy, is in recovery at Soetomo General Hospital in Surabaya after he was shot by two unidentified gunmen at 2 a.m. on Tuesday.

He was shot in the hip and the bullet lodged in his stomach, doctors said after surgery to remove the projectile.

Bambang Widjojanto, a deputy chairman of the antigraft commission, also known as the KPK, said on Wednesday that Mathur had been tipping off the agency about corruption cases plaguing his home district of Bangkalan, on the island of Madura off the northeastern tip of East Java.

The tips had made the KPK pay more attention to Bangkalan, Bambang said.

Last month, the KPK arrested Fuad Amin Imron, the speaker of the Bangkalan district legislature, for allegedly taking a kickback from an energy company in connection with a natural gas concession.

Although denying that Fuad’s arrest was directly linked to a report from Mathur, Bambang said law enforcement officers should protect all antigraft activists, particularly those who had received numerous threats, including Mathur.

“Hopefully in the not-so-distant future we will know the true motive behind the shooting,” Bambang said.

Another Bangkalan-based activist, Tamsul, said Mathur had been critical of Fuad ever since he became the district legislative speaker, accusing him of being involved in a litany of graft cases.

Tamsul said Mathur had been threatened several times, especially since Fuad’s arrest by the KPK.

“Mathur has helped unravel many corruption allegations involving Fuad Amin Imron and his family,” Tamsul said on Tuesday after the shooting.

Abdul Harris Semendawai, the chairman of the government’s Witness and Victims Protection Agency (LPSK), said his office would offer Mathur protection.

“We will deploy a team to expedite the protection process,” he said.

Semendawai said Mathur’s status as the victim of a shooting qualified him for LPSK protection. More protection will be given, he added, if Mathur “has important testimony that can lead to the uncovering of a corruption case.”

East Java Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Awi Setiyono said Mathur was returning from his office when he was ambushed.

He said the gunmen appeared to have been waiting for just that moment. As Mathur stepped out of his car to open his garage door, a motorcycle with two people on it drove up to his car and the person riding pillion fired at Mathur, Awi said. The gunmen then fled the scene.

Mathur was taken to a nearby hospital, but because of the severity of his injuries, was transferred to a better-equipped facility in Surabaya.

Police said an investigation into the shooting had been launched by the Bangkalan Police, with several officers from the provincial police’s violent crimes unit assigned to provide assistance.

Doctors at the hospital treating Mathur said that his condition was stabilizing following an operation to remove the projectile from his body.

Andi Irfan of the human rights group the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) said the case served as yet another example of how law enforcement agencies, in this case the police, continued to provide very little protection for activists and whistle-blowers.

Kontras noted that this was not the first time an antigraft activist in Bangkalan had been violently attacked. Last month, three activists from Madura Corruption Watch were severely beaten by an assailant whom police have still not identified.

Andi also called for the government to draft legislation that would provide protection for activists and penalize those threatening or intimidating them and those interfering their work.

The same call was aired by several NGOs in 2010 after Indonesia Corruption Watch researcher Tama Satrya Langkun was severely beaten by unknown assailants following his investigation into suspiciously large bank accounts of several police generals, including Budi Gunawan — who was recently named a candidate for police chief. Budi is now under investigation by the KPK for bribery.