Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


INDONESIA: Where do you stand on Munir Mr. President?

INDONESIA: Where do you stand on Munir Mr. President?

On 7 September 2004, the Intelligence Agency (BIN) killed prominent Indonesian human rights defender, Mr. Munir Said Thalib, onboard a Garuda Indonesia flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam. He was poisoned by arsenic that was put in his orange juice welcome drink.

Yesterday, 7 September 2015 marks 11 years of this assassination. And, it marks 11 long years during which Munir’s family, Mrs. Suciwati and their two children, have remained in the dark and failed to obtain justice and closure. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), a Hong Kong-based regional human rights organization, expresses concern about the stagnation of Munir’s case.

The AHRC notes that since former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) established a fact-finding team (TPF), which resulted in the prosecution of a Garuda pilot, Mr. Polycarpus Budihari Priyanto, the effort to dismantle the case has grown. The government has failed to ensure punishment for the mastermind behind the assassination; the South Jakarta District Court notably released former Deputy V of the National Intelligence Agency, Mr. Muchdi Purwopranjono (known as Muchdi PR).

Mr. President, under your administration as well, there has been no progress in the Munir case. No significant effort has been made by the police to continue the investigation processes, whereas the Indonesian police should have followed up on the TPF’s report. On the contrary, the police are reluctant to re-establish a special team for Munir’s case. Additionally, the Minister of Law and Human Rights, Mr. Yasona Laoly, has issued “a controversial parole” for Polycarpus. As a result, Polycarpus, who had been sentenced to 14 years in prison, is being released after 7 years.

Mr. President, we are aware of the close relationship you share with Mr. Hendro Priyono, a former head of the intelligence agency and the alleged mastermind of Munir’s murder. The TPF has named named Hendro as someone involved in the murder. A few months ago, we learned that you have entered into an agreement with Hendro to develop a national car project in cooperation with the Malaysian government. We also tracked how Hendro maintained very strong influence in your presidential campaign, and subsequently when you set up your Cabinet. We worry that this relationship has worsened and will worsen prospects of a fair investigation and trial.

The circumstances give cause for concern. They merit public clarification and commitment from you with respect to fair trial and equality before the law. The document called “Nawacita” has mention of your commitment, and also has a breakdown into a National Medium-Term Development Plan (RPJMN 2014-2019), which states that the government will ensure protection of its citizens. The RPJMN also clearly states that human rights cases are one of priorities of your administration.

It follows from your earlier expressed commitment that Munir’s case must be investigated properly; the alleged perpetrators and the mastermind must be tried in court under the fair trial standard. And, the TPF’s result must be announced publicly to ensure transparence.

Mr. President, the AHRC believes that you have enough power to order your subordinates, such as the national chief police (Kapolri) and the Attorney General, to cooperate and show their commitment to the rule of law. This can help break the wall of impunity and announce to your country and the world that under your administration, the rule of law and human rights will be supported and protected.

We also recall the Human Rights Committee (HRC) session on Indonesia in August 2013, wherein a strong recommendation was issued on the Munir case. In paragraph 8, the HRC stated “the State party should effectively prosecute cases involving past human rights violations, such as the murder of prominent human rights defender Munir Said Thalib, on 7 September 2004, and provide adequate redress to victims or members of their families.”

As a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Indonesian government must follow up on the HRC recommendation. Your government will have to confront what previous President SBY stated – that the Munir case is a test of our history.

The AHRC, therefore, calls for the government under your watch to continue the investigation processes. As President, we urge you to establish a new independent fact-finding team, like the one established by previous President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, to follow up on the recommendations of the previous team and to complete the investigations.

Mr. President you need to display your commitment, as professed in the Nawacita and RPJMN 2014-2019, wherein law and human rights are listed as government priorities. Should not any fair interpretation of this commitment also embrace Munir’s case?

Mr. President, we encourage you to see the Human Rights Committee’s recommendation on Munir’s case as an opportunity to prioritize this case and provide the necessary political and budgetary support to eradicate any obstacle faced by the national investigator.

We look forward to your leadership.
Yours Sincerely,

Yours sincerely,

Bijo Francis
Executive Director
Asian Human Rights Commission, Hong Kong


© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Keith Rankin: Science, Scientists, And Scientism
Science, in the not-so-recent-past, has often had a bad press. It's been personified, particularly by the political left, as Frankenstein, as agents of capitalism, classical liberalism, colonialism, sexism (yang over yin), eugenics, and god-like pretension. More recently though, in the zeitgeists of climate change awareness and covid, it's had an unusually good press; although we retain this persistent worry that viruses such as SARS-Cov2 may be the unwitting or witting result of the work of careless or evil scientists... More>>

Dunne Speaks: Can ACT's Dream Run Continue?

By most reckonings the ACT Party has had a very successful political year. Not only has its expanded Parliamentary team settled in well to its work, without controversy or scandal, but its leader has gained in community respect, and the party’s support, at least according to the public opinion polls, has increased sharply... More>>

Keith Rankin: Basic Universal Income And Economic Rights
"Broad growth is only going to come when you put money in the hands of people, and that's why we talk about a Universal Basic Income". [Ritu Dewan, Indian Society of Labour Economics]. (From How long before India's economy recovers, 'Context India', Al Jazeera, 31 Oct 2021.) India may be to the 'Revolution of the twenty-first century' that Russia was to the 'Revolution of the twentieth century'... More>>

Gasbagging In Glasgow: COP26 And Phasing Down Coal

Words can provide sharp traps, fettering language and caging definitions. They can also speak to freedom of action and permissiveness. At COP26, that permissiveness was all the more present in the haggling ahead of what would become the Glasgow Climate Pact... More>>

Globetrotter: Why Julian Assange’s Inhumane Prosecution Imperils Justice For Us All

When I first saw Julian Assange in Belmarsh prison, in 2019, shortly after he had been dragged from his refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy, he said, “I think I am losing my mind.”
He was gaunt and emaciated, his eyes hollow and the thinness of his arms was emphasized by a yellow identifying cloth tied around his left arm... More>>

Dunne Speaks: Labour's High Water Mark
If I were still a member of the Labour Party I would be feeling a little concerned after this week’s Colmar Brunton public opinion poll. Not because the poll suggested Labour is going to lose office any time soon – it did not – nor because it showed other parties doing better – they are not... More>>