Jakarta (The Jakarta Post/ANN) - Comr. Novel Baswedan, the police officer seconded to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) as an investigator, whose name came to the fore after officers of the National Police attempted to arrest him for an alleged previous offense, can now refocus on a high profile graft case implicating an active-duty police general after President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called on the National Police to halt their action.
In a highly-anticipated speech, Yudhoyono stressed that the police's recent attempt to bring Baswedan to justice for a crime he allegedly committed a long time ago was badly timed and carried in the wrong manner.
"We value the principal of equality before the law, meaning that everybody is an object to law enforcement if proven guilty of violating the law. However, in my opinion, the police's attempt to process Comr. Novel [Baswedan] for a crime he allegedly committed eight years ago was done at the wrong time and in the wrong way," the President said on Monday evening in Jakarta.
National Police officers and Bengkulu Police detective chief came to the KPK headquarters in South Jakarta on last Friday evening in an attempt to arrest Baswedan at the KPK building over the allegation that Baswedan was responsible for shooting robbery suspects while serving as Bengkulu Police detective chief in 2004.
Baswedan is currently leading the probe into the 2011 driving simulators procurement project graft case, which has implicated former National Police Traffic Corps chief Ins. Gen. Djoko Susilo.
The police officers failed to take Baswedan with them after a wave of protesters swarmed the KPK building from last Friday evening to early morning on Saturday.
The President emphasised that all legal measures had to be carried out based on good will.
"Don't take a legal measure on an investigator because he is currently investigating the driving simulators graft case. Don't take a legal measure against a KPK member to criminalise the KPK," he said.
Separately, KPK deputy chief Bambang Widjojanto lauded the president's statement, saying that Baswedan could immediately go back to his duties to investigate the driving simulators graft case and other cases.
"This way [Baswedan] will be able carry out his duty without being disrupted by other things outside his job," Widjojanto told the press at the KPK after Yudhoyono finished his speech.
Widjojanto also praised the National Police's chief cooperation during a meeting between leaders of the two institutions earlier that day.
"[National Police chief Gen. Timur Pradopo] showed us that he is a professional and wise law enforcer by committing to what the President has said."