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Keeping Bali Safe for Free Speech

Bali Police Challenged to Expose those Behind Violent Attack on Head of Bali Environmental Group WALHI

(11/16/2012) The Bali police have established a special task force to investigate a brutal physical attack suffered by Gendo Suardana, a leading environmental activist in Bali that occurred on Monday, November 5, 2012.

Gendo Suardana is the chairman of the Bali Friends of the Earth (WALHI) who has been at the forefront of protests and demonstrations against the destruction of the mangrove forest by the Benoa to Nusa Dua highway and protests opposing Bali’s governor for granting a 55-year-long license to a private company to manage a huge public mangrove forest in South Bali.

Quoted by the State News Agency Antara, the head of the Bali Police, General Budi Gunawan, said: "I have formed a special team to solve this case, let’s see how it develops.”

Gendo was beaten by a group of tattooed thugs while visiting his lawyer’s office in Bali’s capital of Denpasar.

General Gunawan said that several leads were being developed and he hoped to be able to make an arrest soon.

Angered by the attack on their leader, tens of demonstrators protested at the police headquarters on Monday, November 12, 2012, demanding police solve the case and arrest those responsible for the assault.

The protestors identifying themselves as the Forum of Balinese Against Violence wanted to meet with Bali’s Chief of Police General Budi Gunawan. When General Gunawan was unable to receive the group, they managed to meet with the deputy-chief of police for Bali, Brigadier General Ketut Untung Yoga.

As reported by Kompas.com, in a meeting that lasted an hour the activists asked if police had responded seriously to Gendo’s report of the criminal assault and demanded that steps be taken to capture those responsible to ensure future attacks do not occur.

Yoga promised to follow up on the report of the assault, insisting the police shared the group’s distaste for violence.

Separately, the internal deputy of WALHI-Bali, Suryadi Darmoko, called on the police to quickly solve the case and reveal who was behind the attack.

Darmoko said: “The police must be firm and open - absolutely transparent in the case of the attack experience by Gendo. In every assault on pro-democracy movements there is always someone involved behind the scene. We challenge the police to expose who was the intellectual actor behind the attack on Gendo.”