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Cablegate: Munir Murder Case -- Former Official Acquitted;

VZCZCXRO7695
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #2354/01 3660813
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 310813Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1103
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 5776
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 2901
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 5280
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 3459
RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY 4147
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA 1532
RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO 1545
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 3380
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 3205
RUEHPT/AMCONSUL PERTH 1376
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JAKARTA 002354

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, EAP/RSP, DRL, DRL/AWH
NSC FOR E.PHU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KJUS ID
SUBJECT: MUNIR MURDER CASE -- FORMER OFFICIAL ACQUITTED;
GOI WILL APPEAL

REF: JAKARTA 2295 AND PREVIOUS

JAKARTA 00002354 001.2 OF 002


1. (U) This message is Sensitive but Unclassifed--Please
handle accordingly.

2. (SBU) SUMMARY: On December 31, a Jakarta court acquitted
former intelligence official Muchdi Purwoprandjono of
conspiracy to commit the September 2004 murder of human
rights activist Munir Said Thalib. The Court stated that the
prosecution had failed to tie Muchdi to the murder. The GOI
pushed the case hard and prosecutors plan to appeal. The
decision is a setback for human rights activists who have
demanded accountability. Suggested press guidance is
attached in para 7. END SUMMARY.

VERDICT IN MUNIR CASE

3. (U) A Jakarta District Court has acquitted Muchdi
Purwoprandjono, the former deputy chief of the Indonesian
National Intelligence Agency (BIN), for conspiracy in the
murder of Munir, a well-known human rights activist. In its
decision, the presiding judge said there was "insufficient
evidence" to prove that Muchdi was involved in the murder.
Specifically, the judge said, "Prosecutors failed to
demonstrate that Muchdi had motive to commit murder or that
he used his power as BIN chief to kill Munir." (Note:
Pollycarpus Priyanto was convicted and sentenced to 20 years
in prison for carrying out the murder. He is now in prison,
serving his sentence.)

4. (U) Prosecutors plan to appeal the decision. Under
Indonesian law, the prosecution has the ability to appeal
adverse court rulings, the same right accorded the defense.

5. (SBU) The crux of the prosecution's case centered on
painting Muchdi as the key conspirator in "masterminding" the
murder plot. From the beginning, the prosecution asserted
that Muchdi had a clear motive to murder Munir. They alleged
that Muchdi was dismissed from his position as head of the
Army Special Forces (KOPASSUS) after an investigation led by
Munir revealed Muchdi's involvement in the disappearance of
13 human rights activists in 1997-98. Defense lawyers
strongly attacked the prosecution's allegations. In his
decision, the presiding judge cited what he said was the
prosecution's failure to make a direct connection between
Muchdi and Pollycarpus.

ACTIVISTS SEE A SETBACK

6. (SBU) Human rights activists were not happy with the
verdict, seeing it as a setback for accountability. One
activist told poloff that the acquittal was "a serious
setback in human rights enforcement" for Indonesia. This
activist claimed to poloff that several witnesses were under
enormous pressure and withheld testimony. That said, the GOI
did press the case hard and, as noted, plans to lodge an
appeal.

SUGGESTED PRESS GUIDANCE

7. (U) Suggested press guidance follows:

Q: What is the U.S. reaction to the December 31 Indonesian
court decision in the Munir murder case?

A:
--The United States closely monitored the progress of the
Muchdi trial and the investigation of Munir Said Thalib's
murder.
--In the aftermath of the verdict, we hope the Indonesian
government will continue its investigation into Munir's
murder and continue its pursuit of justice.
--We urge the GOI to ensure that justice is served, wherever

JAKARTA 00002354 002.2 OF 002


the evidence may lead, and that the process be transparent,
independent, and professional. We hope all those complicit
in Munir's murder will be brought to justice.
--Background: Internationally respected Indonesian human
rights activist Munir was murdered while on a Garuda airlines
flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam in September 2004.
According to an autopsy, Munir died of arsenic poisoning.
There has been widespread speculation that Indonesia's
intelligence agency (BIN) was involved in Munir's killing.
On December 31, 2008, a Jakarta court acquitted former
intelligence official Muchdi Purwoprandjono of conspiracy to
commit the murder.

HUME

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