Jakarta – A Tempo journalist in the East Java provincial capital of Surabaya, Nurhadi, was abused and threatened when investigating a case of alleged tax bribery involving the former director of investigations at the Directorate General of Taxes at the Finance Ministry, Angin Prayitno Aji.
On the evening concerned, Nurhadi was assigned by his office to find Aji at a wedding event for one of his children. He was asked to seek confirmation from Aji over the bribery case.
Instead of getting an answer, Nurhadi was grabbed by Purwanto and Firman, two people who claimed to be the adopted children of Aji's in-law to be, police Senior Commissioner Achmad Yani, the former head of the East Java regional police planning bureau. The pair later also admitted to being from the East Java regional police.
"They claimed to be the adopted children of Achmad Yani", said Nurhadi when relating the incident on Sunday March 28.
Purwanto and Firman thought Nurhadi had wanted to cover the wedding of Aji and Yani's children which was being held in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nurhadi tried to explain but his mobile phone was sized and smashed, the memory reset and the SIM card snapped in two and thrown away.
"I explained that I only wanted to get confirmation on the tax bribery case, about corruption, not the marriage", he said.
During this time, Nurhadi said that he suffered various kind of violence: he had his hair pulled, was slapped in the face and ears, punched and trodden on. A person who is suspected of being a TNI (Indonesian military) officer even wanted to electrocute him. Aji's aide also threatened to kill him.
"I was hit repeatedly, each person who was there asked me where I was from then hit me", he said. "There were others who threatened to electrocute me, a TNI [officer]", he added.
Nurhadi said he could not remember exactly how many people there were but there were at least 10. They wore black clothing, and some others wore blue batik shirts.
Not content with taking turns at beating him, Firman and Purwanto took him to the Arcadia Hotel where they held him for two hours before finally taking him home. "At the hotel I was held for two hours", he said.
The case has now been reported to the East Java regional police headquarters in Surabaya. The report was received by the Integrated Police Service Centre (SPKT) and assigned police report number LP-B/176/III/RES.1.6/2021/UM/SPKT Polda Jatim.
He was accompanied by the Journalists Anti-Violence Alliance which is made up of the Surabaya Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), the Surabaya Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), the Lentera Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Lentera), the Legal Aid Institute for the Press (LBH Pers) and the Surabaya Legal Aid Foundation (LBH).
The East Java regional police (Polda Jatim) have confirmed they will investigate the case.
"Correct. Today friends from the Alliance of Independent Journalists reported the incident of alleged abuse against a media worker with the Polda Jatim Integrated Police Service Centre", said East Java police spokesperson Senior Commissioner Gatot Repli Handoko on Sunday.
"An examination is being carried out and it is hoped that the process can be followed up on. From the results of the SPKT a police report was made out to be followed up on", he continued. (frd/arh)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Babak Belur Jurnalis Tempo saat Investigasi Kasus Suap Pajak".]