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Acid attacks on foreign journos 'taint police'

Jakarta Post - April 7, 2012

Jakarta – The National Police's reputation is in jeopardy after three foreign correspondents filed a report of acid attacks against them during fuel-policy protests at the gates of House of Representatives building in Jakarta last Friday.

The BBC's Alice Budisatrijo, Bobby Gunawan from the Al Jazeera news network and Louis Benjamin from Reuters news agency filed the report at the National Police headquarters on Tuesday. The three correspondents suffered chemical burns during the attack by an unknown individual.

Ananto Handoyo, a cameraman for local TV station JakTV, had also filed a report after falling victim to the hydrochloric acid attack. Three police officers also reportedly suffered similar burns.

Haris Azhar from the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) urged police to thoroughly investigate the attacks to avoid serious accusations from the international community.

"The acid attacks naturally caught the attention of the international community. Indonesia has been known as one of those countries that are less friendly to foreign journalists," Haris told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of a discussion held by members of the Islamic Students Association (HMI) in Jakarta on Friday.

Meanwhile, Indonesian Police Watch chairman Neta S. Pane was less optimistic about the 'seriousness' of the police in investigating the attack.

"Police have assaulted both journalists and protesters far too many times. I think they will not do much this time, in spite of there also being foreign people who have become victims," he said.

Separately, National Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Boy Rafli Amar said in a text message that "the process is currently still ongoing. Please wait for the result." (asa)