Today, as if the editors themselves do not read their own readers page, the Jakarta Post called former Anthasari Azhar the “disgraced” Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) chairman.
Disgraced? What a cavalier word to use. In what way has Antasari been disgraced? Just because the police and Attorney General’s office – two institutions who would have good reason to see him go – are tripping over themselves trying to convict him of murder?
Does this make Antasari disgraced? Surely not, if you believe in the principle of presumption of innocence, where a man is held innocent until he is convicted by a court of law. The police and public prosecutors, fine fellows they may be, are not infallible. They have been known to bark up the wrong tree and to press charges against the wrong person. Or not be able to make their case stick in court.
Antsari is beleaguered, yes and it would be fair to describe him as such but to say that he is disgraced is disgraceful.
Also disgraceful is the haste in which lawmakers and the media advance the argument that a quick replacement for Antasari would enure that the KPK continues its good work of fighting corruption.
Putting a new person on the helm may not do the trick if serious doubts exist of Antasari’s culpability. No one, save perhaps the police and prosecutors, know with a great level of certainty whether Antasari is guilty of murdering businessman Nasruddin over his caddy third wife. The case has to go through the due process of law and the truth would out only during a court hearing.
Until then nobody is sure what are the motives and agenda of the players. This uncertainty gives some credence to the theory that Antasari may have been framed because he was stepping on too many toes.
So long as this doubt exists, Unspun would argue, it would be an obstacle for anyone taking over Antasari’s position as head of the KPK to do their job well. This is because that person will be living in fear. If Antasari was framed then the bad guys got to him. If they can get to him, they can get to anyone.
The Jakarta Post would do well to keep impartial about Antasari until more is known. In the meantime, it could do some snooping and investigation of its own to answer the troubling questions surrounding this case, such as who and why was behind the haste with which the police and prosecutors pronounced Antasari a suspect instead of a witness; and how did the confusion over his status arise.
Also, why would someone from the KPK, that uses SMS as evidence (as in the case of Billy Sindoro and KPPU commissioner M. Iqbal) be so stupid as to send a threatening SMS to Nasruding before allegedly bumping him off?