Indonesia: Attacked KPK investigator returns home

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/ANN) - Anti-graft body investigator Novel Baswedan returns home after being treated in Singapore for his injured eyes due to acid attack last April.

Senior Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator Novel Baswedan, who for the past 10 months has been receiving medical treatment in Singapore for his eyes that were injured in an acid attack on April 11, arrived in Jakarta on Thursday morning.

After arriving at Soekarno Hatta International Airport at 11.30 a.m., Novel went directly to the KPK office. He received a warm welcome from around 100 colleagues, activists and journalists.

In a media briefing, Novel showed his gratitude to President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo, Vice President Jusuf Kalla and all those who supported him while he received treatment in Singapore.

“Alhamdulillah [thank God]. I’m grateful that I can return home. This attack will never be my weakness but instead will be my spirit,” he told journalists.

“I want to share the same spirit of bravery to my friends in the KPK and activists who have always stood firm in the fight against corruption. If this incident makes us afraid, it will decrease our productivity, and then the winner will be the perpetrators. I don’t want that to happen," he added.

Novel also expressed hope that he would be able to return to work as soon as possible.

KPK deputy chairman Laode Muhammad Syarif expressed his gratitude to the police who had given protection to Novel and his family.

“Novel has not yet recovered because he still needs more surgery to his left eye. Hopefully, he will undergo surgery for the last time at the end of March. Let’s pray that he will get well soon,” he said.

Laode also said he hoped the attackers would be arrested soon and that the truth behind the attack would be revealed.

Meanwhile, President Jokowi on Tuesday also showed his happiness upon hearing about Novel’s improving health.

“Alhamdulillah [thank God], Pak Novel Baswedan has recovered and is ready to return to Indonesia. I think he can work again at the KPK and we are really grateful for that,” Jokowi said.

When he was asked about the acid attack against Novel and the formation of a fact-finding team, Jokowi said he would continue to urge the police to solve the case.

“I will keep pushing the police to solve the case, whoever the culprits are […] The police have said it is only after they have given up on the case that we can then take other measures,” Jokowi said, without elaborating what are the other measures would be.

On April 11, Novel was attacked by two unidentified men who threw acid on his face, causing him to suffer serious injuries to his eyes. At the time of the attack, Novel was leading a KPK investigation on the e-ID graft case, which has implicated several members of the House of Representatives and high ranking government officials.

The police have yet to identify the perpetrators after almost a year of investigation.