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Prosecutors reject defense arguments in Novel acid attack case

Jakarta Post - June 23, 2020

Tri Indah Oktavianti, Jakarta – Prosecutors rejected on Monday the defense arguments submitted by a legal team defending two police officers charged with involvement in the acid attack on Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator Novel Baswedan in 2017, during a hearing at the North Jakarta District Court.

In last week's hearing, the lawyers sought the acquittal of the defendants Chief Brig. Ronny Bugis and Brig. Rahmat Kadir Mahulette, saying they had no intention of harming the antigraft investigator and that the attack was simply a spontaneous act. The lawyers also claimed that the injury to Novel's eyes had been caused by poor medical treatment, not by the attack.

Prosecutors told the court the chronology of the incident in which Rahmat had googled the address of Novel Baswedan on April 8, 2017. Rahmat also studied the residential complex area for him to prepare the attack plan and escape. He borrowed Ronny's motorcycle on April 9, 2017 and checked out the entrance and exit gates around Novel's residential complex.

As a member of the National Police's Mobile Brigade Corps (Brimob), Rahmat also had access to a parking lot for Brimob vehicles at the Brimob headquarters in Kelapa Dua, Depok, West Java, where he obtained the sulfuric acid for the attack.

However, defense lawyers had argued that Rahmat was "anxious on the night before the attack" and that a "perpetrator of a planned crime would likely be more relaxed".

"The fact that there was a certain period of time for the suspect to calculate his action is enough to prove that this was a planned crime," prosecutors said, rebutting the defense argument during the court hearing on Monday.

The prosecutors went on to say that both defendants had spied on Novel Baswedan before the attack, waiting in front of Al-Ikhsan mosque on Jl. Deposito Block E in Pegangsaan Dua subdistrict, Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta, where Novel said his dawn prayers.

"Rahmat opened the black plastic bag inside which he kept the acid. Meanwhile, Ronny kept his eye on Novel Baswedan," the prosecutors explained. "Rahmat also told Ronny about his intention to teach someone a lesson and told Ronny to drive his motorcycle slowly when approaching Novel."

"Based on that chronology, we reject the lawyers' defense argument that said that Rahmat acted independently in the attack," the prosecutors said, indicating that Ronny also played a role in the attack.

The prosecutors also rebutted the poor treatment claim, saying that the damage to Novel's eye was reported by Mitra Keluarga Hospital in Kelapa Gading, where Novel was first treated after the attack before being referred to the Jakarta Eye Center (JEC).

"Based on the hospital's medical report on April 24, 2017, the 40-year-old man [Novel Baswedan] suffered first- and second-degree burns to his forehead and third-degree burns to his right and left corneas," the prosecutors said.

"The degree of the wounds was still unknown, however, it can be concluded that they subsequently hindered the victim in conducting his activities. Damage to the cornea can potentially cause blindness or severe deterioration in sight," the report read.

State prosecutors had earlier demanded a one-year prison sentence each for Ronny and Rahmat for alleged torture, from a maximum 12-year sentence based on the multiple charges pressed against the two officers under several articles of the Criminal Code.

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/06/22/prosecutors-reject-defense-arguments-in-novel-acid-attack-case.html