Chief Denies Indonesia National Police Plotted Against Antasari

Acknowledging that the National Police was feeling increasingly cornered, Chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri denied on Wednesday that any officers doctored evidence to build a case against former anticorruption czar Antasari Azhar for murder. The denial came a day after a key witness at Antasari’s murder trial, police Snr. Comr. Wiliardi Wizar, said in court that he was forced by National Police and Jakarta Police investigators to make bogus testimony against Antasari in relation to the murder of businessman Nasrudin Zulkarnaen on March 14. “We feel cornered. It is hard to believe that a senior commissioner could be pressured by investigators of lower ranks,” Bambang told a news conference. “We have a video recording of the questioning [of Wiliardi]. It will show there that there was no pressure.” Antasari, former chairman of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), and Wiliardi are co-defendants in the murder, but are being tried separately. Wiliardi was testifying for the prosecution on Tuesday, but instead, the former South Jakarta district police chief caused an uproar by claiming that police persuaded him to make confessions matching those of another co-defendant in the murder case, businessman Sigid Haryo Wibisono. Wiliardi also claimed that Insp. Gen. Hadiatmoko, the National Police’s then deputy chief of detectives, promised him that he would not be detained if he cooperated. Later on Wednesday, the National Police played video footage of Wiliardi’s interrogations for reporters to show that he was not intimidated or coerced into making false statements against Antasari following his arrest in late April. The undated footage showed Wiliardi, accompanied by his lawyer, looking relaxed, even allowed to smoke cigarettes. “Actually, we wanted to unveil all the evidence in court,” National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Nanan Soekarna told a news conference. “We don’t want to debate this in the media, but we have to show you the video footage.” However, a lawyer for Wiliardi, Apolos Djara Bonga, as well as Wiliardi’s wife, Nova, who were present for part of his interrogation, insisted that he had faced police intimidation. “As his lawyer, I was forbidden to meet him between April 28 and April 30. We shall disclose other important evidence in court in connection with the intimidation,” Djara said. Wiliardi’s testimony could deal another blow to the National Police, already under fire for its handling of an investigation against two KPK deputy chairmen, Bibit Samad Rianto and Chandra M Hamzah, after wiretapped telephone conversations suggested that police had plotted to frame the duo for bribery. Adnan Buyung Nasution, the head of a presidential fact-finding team investigating the legitimacy of the case against the two suspended KPK deputy chairmen, said Wiliardi’s claims could further sway public opinion about an alleged conspiracy to bring down the KPK. “It’s getting clear now that something has gone wrong in the country,” he said. “The case of Bibit and Chandra and the case of Antasari may have links, that they come from a single scenario to destroy the KPK,” Adnan said. “And I’m wondering, who is behind all this?” The National Police played two other videos for journalists to counter claims they forced Antasari to file an official complaint against his two KPK colleagues for allegedly receiving bribes. “Antasari himself even helped us find the [evidence] file on his computer on June 11, when our investigators came with him to the KPK offices,” Nanan said. “Now you can analyze who wants to weaken the commission. The police have remained professional in handling this case.”

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