M Rosseno Aji, Jakarta – Amnesty International highlighted the acid attack against senior investigator of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), Novel Baswedan, during the United States Congress on Thursday, July 25.
The Novel case was presented among other cases of human rights violations in Southeast Asian countries, such as the conflict in Rohingya and Philippine's war on drugs voiced by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The Asia Pacific Advocacy Manager at Amnesty International USA, Francisco Bencosme, reiterated that Amnesty has been campaigning for the accountability of the case since 2017.
"He [Novel] had a vial of hydrochloric acid thrown into his face," said Francisco as quoted from the forum of the Human Rights in Southeast Asia forum: A Regional Outlook at the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Nonproliferation House Foreign Affairs Committee, Thursday, July 25.
Francisco mentioned that the attack occurred when Novel was leading the e-ID or e-KPT graft case. He considered Novel, who was the chairman of the KPK labor union, very vocal towards attempts to undermine the anti-graft body.
He assessed the police investigation was marred by irregularities, so Novel Baswedan reported the issue to the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM). The commission concluded certain parties attempted to hinder the investigation on the graft case carried out by the KPK and that the police mishandled the case.
Francisco went on to say that assaults against anti-corruption activists and human rights defenders were rampant and the case was rarely revealed. This failure weakened efforts to eradicate corruption and deprived the country to protect and fulfill the human rights of its people.