Activists demand justice for Munir on 9th anniversary

Jakarta Globe, September 7, 2013

Dessy Sagita

JakartaGlobe2It has been nine years since Munir Said Thalib was silenced by arsenic poisoning as he sat on a Garuda Indonesia flight, but justice for the murdered political activist continues to elude his family.

„In the presidential decree signed by Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, it was mentioned that the result of the investigation carried out by the fact-finding team would be reported to the president, and that the president would reveal the result to public,“ Haris Azhar, the coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), a human rights advocate group established by Munir himself, told the Jakarta Globe on Saturday.

„We demand that the investigation be revealed immediately,“ he said. Haris said Indonesia’s international credibility would remain questionable while questions surrounding Munir’s death remained unanswered.

„Right now, the European Union is drawing up guidelines on future cooperation with Indonesia,“ he said. „Some factors will be highlighted, including how we are handling Munir’s case.

The president has sufficient legal resources to re-open the case, this is crucial to show our people how a country takes responsibility.“

On Sept. 7, 2004, Munir died on board a Garuda Indonesia flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam. Investigators concluded he died of arsenic poisoning. Off-duty pilot Pollycarpus Priyanto was convicted of Munir’s murder in 2005. The conviction was invalidated in 2006 for insufficient evidence, but was reinstated in 2008.

To date, however, none of the alleged planners of the murder has been jailed. Muchdi Purwopranjono, the former National Intelligence Agency (BIN) deputy chief, was acquitted of murder charges.

„The Judicial Commission has said there was an abnormality in Muchdi’s acquittal, therefore the Commission and Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK) must investigate the bank accounts of the judges responsible for the acquittal,“ Haris said.

In a written statement released on Saturday, Amnesty International also criticized Indonesia’s failure to deliver justice for Munir’s murder.

„President Yudhoyono, who has himself described Munir’s case as a „test of our history,“ has just one year of his presidency remaining, in which to ensure full justice and reparations are delivered. The President’s failure so far to do so, at a time the protection of human rights defenders across the country remains seriously under threat, raises serious questions about his legacy,“ the statement read.

Along with Amnesty, several international regional and local civil society organizations from Cambodia, France, Germany, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Philippines, Singapore and the United Kingdom, have also signed the joint statement demanding Yudhoyono take action.

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