Jakarta – The police will suspend any criminal investigations involving potential or registered candidates running in the 2020 regional elections in December, according to a telegram issued by National Police chief Gen. Idham Azis.
In the telegram dated Aug. 31, Idham argued that any legal proceedings against candidates in the run-up to elections would further encourage mudslinging and smear campaigns to influence the election outcomes.
The telegram, signed by the chief detective of the police's Criminal Investigation Department (Bareskrim) Comr. Gen. Listyo Sigit Prabowo on behalf of Idham, is also aimed at deterring any political influence among police officers and to further prevent irresponsible stakeholders from using the police in the interests of rival candidates in the elections.
National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Argo Yuwono confirmed the telegram on Wednesday.
"If the police proceed with any criminal investigations against candidates, the police could be accused of not being neutral. That's what we have to avoid," Argo said as quoted by kompas.com.
Criminal investigations, however, will not be suspended against those suspected of election fraud, or who are caught red handed committing crimes that threaten national security or crimes that carry the maximum punishment of death or life imprisonment.
Investigations into cases involving regional election candidates will resume after the election process is finished, the police said. The 270 concurrent regional elections are scheduled for Dec. 9.
"Any police investigators found to be continuing investigations as referred to in the first point of the telegram will be charged with violations of the code of ethics and be disciplined," the telegram reads. (trn)