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Indonesian anti-graft pair freed

By Karishma Vaswani
BBC News, Jakarta

Indonesian students rally in support of the country's anti-corruption agency
Protests have been held in Jakarta against the police action

Indonesian police have released two of the country's top anti-corruption officials from jail.

They were detained by police last week on suspicion of involvement in a bribery case. They deny the charges.

Critics say the arrests are an attempt by the police to undermine Indonesia's powerful anti-corruption commission.

The case has generated widespread criticism of the Indonesian police, with hundreds of people protesting this week against their actions.

Indonesia is often ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in the world, but the anti-corruption commission has made efforts to try to clean up that image.

Resignation calls

The two anti-corruption officials had submitted tapes of conversations as part of their defence.

Thousands of Indonesians sat glued to their TV sets in their offices and homes as news channels broadcast four hours of the taped conversations, allegedly between a businessman and several people thought to be in Indonesia's police force and the attorney general's office - two of the most powerful forces in the country.

Discussions on the tapes revealed the speakers had plans to weaken Indonesia's anti-corruption commission significantly.

Police arrested the pair last week and say they are suspected in a bribery case and must be investigated.

The case of Bibit and Chandra - as it has been dubbed by the local press - has angered many in Indonesia.

Hundreds protested on the streets of Jakarta on Monday against the police actions, calling for the resignation of the police chief.

Indonesia's anti-corruption commission has made many enemies because it has been so successful in investigating and charging corrupt officials, including those in the police force.

Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is under pressure to come up with a solution to this growing problem.

One of his promises during his campaign for re-election earlier this year was to clamp down on corruption.

How this case is handled will be seen as a test of his commitment.



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