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Sabtu, 31 Oktober 2009

Calls mount for Bambang, Susno Duadji to resign

Jakarta ;Public demand for National Police chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri and chief detective Comr. Gen. Susno Duadji to step down over the controversial arrests of two antigraft officials is mounting

Nadhlatul Ulama (NU), the country's biggest Muslim organization, along with Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) and legal expert and politician Nursyahbani Katjasungkana called for Bambang to resign in the wake of what is fast being decried as the criminalization on Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) deputy chairmen Bibit Samad Rianto and Chandra M. Hamzah.

"It would be the honorable thing to do for Bambang and Susno to resign for the police's incompetence in handling this high-profile case," NU deputy chairman Masdar Masudi

Nursyahbani said Susno should have stepped two months ago when he was reported to have been wiretapped demanding a Rp 10 billion bribe in the Bank Century scandal.

“I believe Pak Bambang, in his capacity as the police chief, has to be held accountable for this fiasco caused by one of his subordinates," she said.

"He too must resign.”

Bibit and Chandra were declared suspects on Sept. 15 for abuse of power and bribery, and were arrested Oct. 29 for what police claimed was an attempt to sway public opinion on the case.

Initial speculation that the charges against them had been trumped up were later given credence when wiretapped recordings emerged indicating a plot to frame the two deputies.

Minor victories for Bibit and Chandra came from the Constitutional Court, which ordered the President to stay their dismissals from the antigraft body, and from the Attorney General's Office, which asked police to drop the charges against them.

Support also came from high-profile figures, including antigraft activists Syafii Maarif, Todung Mulya Lubis, Adnan Buyung Nasution and Imam Prasodjo, as well as political analysts and legislators expressing concern over what they deemed police arrogance.

Syafii urged the government to take measures to prevent the case triggering any social unrest or political instability.

"This country is like a big village without any leaders," an emotional Syafii said.

Former People's Consultative Assembly speaker Hidayat Nur Wahid, along with 17 legislators from the People's Conscience Party (Hanura), called on the police to release Bibit and Chandra, while a Facebook group has sprung up calling for 1 million Indonesians to join and back the deputies.

Centre for Strategic International Studies (CSIS) political analyst J. Kristiady warned authorities about increasing public resistance to police impunity, saying the arrests of Bibit and Chandra was seen as unwarranted.

Breaking his silence on the issue Friday, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono insisted he would not interfere in the police investigation.

He backed the police's right to arrest suspects believed to have infringed on the law.

As for allegations of a witch hunt to undermine the KPK, Yudhoyono stressed that a strong antigraft body was in the best interests of all parties, himself included.

"I'll be the first to oppose any move to phase out the commission," he said, despite insinuating earlier this year that the KPK was growing overly powerful.

He said he had ordered the police chief to explain to the public why Bibit and Chandra had been arrested and on what charges.

In his explanation, Bambang declined to name the charges against the KPK deputies, saying only they had been arrest "because they have complicated the case".

Bibit and Chandra were on Friday transferred from the National Police detention center in Jakarta to the Mobile Brigade detention center in Kelapa Dua, Depok, just south of the capital.

Interim KPK chairman Tumpak Hatorangan Panggabean said his office would seek to have the two released and would also provide legal advocacy.

Former KPK deputy Erry Riyana Pamekas said police had to drop the case to prevent it further tarnishing their image.

The antigraft body has yet to begin investigating the graft case in Bank Century, in which Susno is implicated

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