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World is watching Munir murder probe closely: UN

Sumber: THEJAKARTAPOST.COM | Tgl terbit: Sabtu, 14 Juli 2007

National News - July 14, 2007

M. Taufiqurrahman, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said she expects the Indonesian government to quickly get to the bottom of the murder of prominent rights campaigner Munir Said Thalib.

Arbour highlighted that the international community is closely monitoring the progress of the investigation into Munir's death.

"I hope very much that the investigation meets a rapid conclusion," Arbour told a media conference after meeting with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the State Palace on Friday.

Arbour said Yudhoyono had assured her during the meeting that the investigation into the murder would continue despite recent setbacks.

"The President confirmed to me that this matter is being fully investigated," she said.

During an earlier meeting with National Police deputy chief Comr. Gen. Makbul Padmanegara, Arbour received a similar declaration.

"I was told that the investigation was very alive and progressing," she said.

Earlier this week, on the sidelines of the 14th annual workshop for the framework of regional cooperation for the promotion and protection of human rights in the Asia-Pacific, Arbour held a meeting with Munir's widow, Suciwati, and activists from the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) during which the latter called on the UN to support Yudhoyono in his efforts to unravel the mysteries surrounding Munir's death.

Usman Hamid of Kontras said Arbour will likely deliver an official report to the UN on the progress of the murder investigation.

Arbour is in the country on a five-day visit, during which she has traveled to tsunami-hit Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam province to witness the implementation of the Helsinki Peace Accord and gauge the progress of reconstruction efforts.

She also held talks with government officials and representatives of non-governmental organizations.

Munir, a prominent critic of the government and the Indonesian Military (TNI), died of arsenic poisoning in September 2004 while onboard a Garuda Indonesia flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam which included a stopover in Singapore.

Investigators recently announced they had uncovered new evidence suggesting Munir was poisoned during his stopover at Singapore's Changi Airport and not while onboard the plane.

The police also announced the emergence of new evidence, including a new key witness named Ongen Latuihamallo, who claims to have witnessed Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto, the sole person convicted over Munir's murder, sitting with Munir at a refreshment booth at Changi Airport.

The Supreme Court acquitted Pollycarpus, an off-duty Garuda pilot at the time of the murder, of all charges due to a lack of evidence.

Pollycarpus was instead sentenced to 22 months in prison for falsifying documents that allowed him to board the Garuda flight to Singapore.



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